How Did You Start Writing?

I started writing in elementary school; second grade I believe. Of course, it wasn’t the best. I remember going off topic a lot, and whatever I wrote about never really went in one direction. Thinking back to them, they were so bad, I’d be ashamed to refer to them as “essays.” My mind was like a firework: ready to explode, but with words, of course. Moving onto third grade, my writing got a little bit better. I was able to make paragraphs, so that was a plus. Sure, I struggled a lot just like anyone would at first, but by fourth grade, I basically had to get it down because that’s the year we were required to write essays. Boy, was I terrified because I’d never really made a legitimate essay before then. 

I remember the class being fairly simple. The teacher would write a question on the board, and we’d have to write a short paragraph, answering said question. The questions were pretty basic: What do you like to do in your free time? What do you do when it’s raining outside? What’s your favorite thing to do in winter? The only difference between third and fourth grade: we were timed. 

Tick... Tock...

I felt like the timer put loads of extra, unnecessary pressure on me. To make matters worse, the teacher would call a few people up to the front of the class to read their paragraphs. Most times I didn’t finish within the time, and we had to put our pencils down and listen to our classmates’ responses. Sometimes, between readers, I would try to add to my paper when the teacher wasn’t looking. Usually I’d just write down something my classmates said. On the worst days, my teacher would call on me to read my paragraph. I never refused, even if I wasn’t done, which by the way, was most of the time. So I’d go to the front of the class and read my two sentences. Everyone would always laugh at me. I hated it. I wanted to cry. My teacher would fuss at me too, but at least she was supportive. She always taught me how to add more detail to my papers. Detail, detail, detail. I heard that word about a thousand times a day. I grew sick of it. I never wanted to write an essay, but lo and behold, it was STAAR Test time! I’m pretty sure I did horrible on the writing part of the test. From fourth grade onwards, I hated writing essays. I always told myself I was bad at it.

A Change of Pace

Fast-forward to middle school, seventh grade specifically. We had to write essays on the STAAR again. Between fourth and seventh grade, I wrote a few essays here and there, but it was nothing too serious. I still hated them, but something changed in my mind. Of course we had to write plenty of essays that year because they were tested, so naturally, my teacher wanted us to practice. For the first time ever, I wrote an essay that I didn’t think too badly of. “Hey, I kinda like this one.” I said to myself with a smile. “It could be better, but it’s not as bad as it could be.” I started to think: maybe I thought I was bad at essays because I simply didn’t like what I was writing. When I started to see the positive instead of the negative, my whole perspective changed. 

Growth

Fast-forward again to high school. Another lightbulb goes off in my head: “Wait a second, these essays don’t have to be about me and my experiences. The readers don’t know what I’ve been through.” Yes, I’ve lied on a few essays, but only when I could think of absolutely nothing else, and I had to fill in the blanks with something so my essays would still flow correctly. Did I regret it? Of course not! Telling the truth wasn’t the point; the point is to make the essay make sense. 

A Journey’s End

Anyways, I was feeling a lot a better about my essays, and writing one didn’t bother me as much anymore. The main thing I learned throughout this journey is that if I just think positively about my essays, it makes it easier for my brain to flourish and elaborate on what I write.