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A Reflection

     I imagine it would be suitable to spend a post reflecting upon what I have learned and how my writing has progressed over the course of this semester as I feel this has been a particularly positive semester for me. I questioned, in my post on the Leslie Jamison reading, what exactly a writer has to do in order to be considered good enough to write experimental nonfiction, etc. I think that my development as writer over the course of this semester is due in part to asking questions of that nature. Now that I have asked these questions out of jealous confusion, I am able to move past them and focus on my own writing. I was afraid that I was not qualified to even be a writer, as I felt writing something weird and out of place would not be well received. This was certainly an unhealthy way to think.

 We learn so quickly to compare our writing to others, and learn only through the imitation of other writers. Why do you think we are asked to read and discuss not the literary components of the stories we read but the decisions we notice the authors make in order to make the story successful? Because we must ask these same questions of our own writing. Before even attempting to understand what is going on in our stories we must first understand what sort of implications or decisions have upon our writing. If I write in second person will the reader immediately toss the story aside out of irritation? If my main character is blonde and lives in Miami, what assumptions will be made of her by the reader? These are important things that we must pay attention to as we write and I believe that my awareness of these questions has helped me develop as a writer.

 There is such a large difference between writing for praise and writing for oneself. If the only thing we wish from our writing is to please and amaze the reader, than we will most definitely fall short of doing just that. If we understand first that we wish to accomplish more with a piece than simply an A and extensive accolades, we will actually have an opportunity to discover the true reason you wanted to write about your subject. If you set your sights too high you’ll get discouraged that much more easily. I have learned that in order to write something that is worth reading to an audience, I must remove myself from the story and create something that instead mirrors I end goal.

   I had never enjoyed or succeeded at writing fiction as I had the habit of trying to develop events in my own life into fictional narratives with meaning to some who literally could not give a single shit about my personal life. This is absolutely ridiculous. I am not Beyonce, and nobody cares what I did last weekend, even if I think it was awesome. I have found that fiction is not about, as it is creative nonfiction, wrestling with the consequences and significance of personal moments, but more about already knowing the consequences and significances of versatile personal moments. In order to write stories that matter to other people, we must remove ourselves from personal moments and instead first understand why these moments were significant to us and create a story that mimics this “why” rather than a gossip-rag recap of some crazy party. If instead we know that the crazy party was important to us because it made us feel more alive (a cliche example I know, but cliches are what they are because they’re the truth!) than we should not write about the party itself but about a character who is in search of feeling alive. If we can develop our emotions rather than our experiences into stories, we will all be more successful. While we should not neglect details in our story, I have come to realize that it is not the details that are important, but how these details develop the character into who they are. In that way…the story is almost able to write itself.

 

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