Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Here We See the Self Conscious Writer in her Natural Habitat

I am a perfectionist. Generally, that’s not really so bad, but it gets to be a problem when I have a paper to write. You see, I hate to read what I've written, because I know that it will never be good enough to satisfy me. Of course, I force myself to read over it a few times before turning it in, but it can be hard.

If I don’t like to read my own writing, then I like the idea of someone else reading it even less. However, when I really can’t force myself to read it yet or just don’t trust my own opinion, there are a few people I will allow to read my very imperfect paper. Those people are my parents, my roommate, and my brother.

My Family:  my Mom, me, my Dad, my older brother, my sister, and my younger brother
The first people I ask to read my paper are my parents, or, more specifically, my Dad. He’s probably the one whose example led me to become the avid reader that I am now. He used to read to me and my siblings when we were younger. Before long, I was reading plenty of books on my own, but we could still discuss them. Now, I think it could be useful to discuss my paper for this class with him, because the book that I will be writing about, A Little Princess, is one of the books he used to read aloud when I was young.

The next person would be my Mom. She dropped out of college after getting married but decided to go back later and graduated a few years ago with a degree in music education. Her major was quite a bit different from mine, but she’s been in college more recently than my Dad, so the experience of writing papers and doing other homework is hopefully fresher in her memory. So, even though she might not be able to help very much with literary analysis, she can provide some encouragement and tips on persevering and getting the job done.

After my parents, or maybe sometimes before them, I bother my roommate, Sierra, about whatever paper I’m working on.
Me and my roommate at a football game
Mostly, I consult her because she’s readily available, and I know she’s not going to be very harsh in her analysis. Criticism can definitely be good, but it’s also helpful sometimes to have someone who will be reliably nice about it. Her major is special education, so her professors are looking for different things in her papers than mine are, but she points out where my argument or where the flow of my ideas doesn't really make sense. She may also have some interest in this specific paper, because she is a fan of princesses, and I happen to be writing about a sort of princess.

The last person on my list is my brother, Seth. I haven’t actually consulted him on any of my writing in college, but that is because he hasn't been available for academic assistance for the past two years. In High School, however, although I didn't always bring my essays to him to read, I knew I could rely on him for intelligent conversation and interesting ideas. He likes to learn new things and to think outside the box, which makes sense, because he wants to be an engineer. Plus, like me, he has a taste for a certain brand of weird. His views might be useful on this paper, especially because the other book I will be writing about, Alice in Wonderland, has a flavor of weirdness that just might appeal to him. It appealed to me, and we often have similar tastes when it comes to weird things.

I realize that most of the people I've described may not really be the most helpful in perfecting an academic paper, but they're the ones I go to for counsel anyway. They provide more encouragement than criticism, but they also provide new insights and opinions. At the very least, talking to someone will make me think more about my argument, and I trust them to talk to.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you have good relationships that can include discussions of academic topics. Have you tried circulating your tweethis to these family members?