Saturday, September 7, 2013

Writing About Nothing

I made a decision this year to take the Creative Writing course my lovely school has to offer. It has not been exactly what I expected; we did not write at all, and my peers in said classroom are not what I expected either. I am definitely not as strange as I thought myself to be... Before a serious depression could fall over me, a silver lining had shone through last Tuesday. Upon entering the classroom I received a packet labelled "How to Say Nothing in Five Hundred Words" by Paul Roberts, giving some good advice to young writes. This, by far, is the most useful thing my school has ever given me.

Roberts describes in depth what teenagers do wrong; many of those problems are some things that I am guilty of doing when writing for an assignment. He mentions "padding" an essay; number one Morgan problem. Padding is basically repeating yourself over and over and over again, rambling about the same thing worded slightly different. After realizing that I am just as lazy as my peers, I learned even more about why some of my quickie essays seem worse than others. "Always take the less usual side." That's  always been my strategy, and I'm proud of taking the "bad side" or even making up my own side; you know when there's only "yes or no" and writing in "maybe" followed by an explanation written in my chicken-scratch penmanship. It always yields a good grade and a good laugh; another reason why my teachers have invited me to lunch in their lounge...

What is still eating away at me is how common all these mistakes are, and how often do writer's in general stay astray from such things? I know that most news reports dance around major issues, continually repeating the same thing over and over. Is it just the way things should be shared with mass numbers? Every time I try to figure out whether WWIII has begun, I end up with the same search results. I'm blaming Bing. Could it be that reporters are just as lazy as myself and my fellow heathens? Sometimes laziness and procrastination get the best of me, actually most of the time. Like every bad habit, it needs to be broken... or at least minimized... right? Ah, who am I kidding. I enjoy those well wasted moments so procrastination shall continue, forever and ever.

I must stay on task! Roberts laid out in minute detail everything it takes to write about absolutely nothing and it actually ends up being something that is not utterly repulsive. I'm attempting to do so soon, maybe write about Pro-Choice/Anti-Choice, College basketball, or possibly my view on public restrooms. Either way, you'll get a heavy whiff of my semi-sane opinion. And if you think that I cannot rant about potties free for anyone to use, think once more! I've written two essays about them already! Oh, my educators must have a field day... So, everyone who is still required to spit out essays once a week, I suggest you look for it next time you're at the library.



Jordan Dane said...

IAAA (I am always awesome)

You are right about the average kid and how they learn to write, just for a grade. They write by the pound instead of being more discriminating and writing for themselves. When I talk to young writers, like I recently did at the local university here, I tell them they almost have to toss out what they think they know about short stories. They have to think (& learn) the craft of writing and learn new things to make their stories more commercial or more like the books they read.

Writing is hard, like you're learning. most young writers are content to throw stuff on a page and don't like putting the time in to really push themselves. I'm glad to see you are puzzling through it and also reflecting it back onto your life's experiences and how you can grow as a human being. It's all part of that process.

I love your posts, Morgan.

Anonymous said...

Thank You Jordan!

Sechin Tower said...

This is hilarious, especially because I've taught creative writing classes to high schoolers. I had never read "How to Say Nothing in 500 words," but I think I'm going to use it now!

I'm surprised your teachers haven't given you anything to write. Well, no point in waiting for them to catch up! Write anyway.