Learning to Write the Right Way

“A..b…d…u…l…” In kindergarten writing was just labeling my paper: signing my name so that I could claim it as my own. I used to have trouble with my p’s, d’s, and b’s: I could never get the arc in the right place. My teacher took notice of my struggle and decided to place me in an ESL class (English as a Second Language).

From a young age, I’ve loathed writing: it was a subject that set me apart from everyone else. A subject that for some reason I was behind everyone else. A subject where I was inferior. To aid in my English, my mom made me start a journal. As soon as I got home from school I would write pages into my journal. I couldn’t stand my classmates being better than me and I let that drive my hand as I wrote page after page after page day after day. 

In first grade, I checked out my first library book. Reading books and taking in the thoughts of others came naturally compared to expressing the thoughts in my head. By the end of the year, I had read every book available for my grade level. My school required me to check out a book every two weeks as part of our classwork; however, my librarian wouldn’t let me read anything past the first-grade level. There came a point where I had to check out Where’s Waldo books every other week.

None the less, my reading skills took leaps and bounds. My English seemed to slowly follow suit. In second grade, my ESL teacher was astonished: I had reached a sixth-grade reading level. I was immediately taken out of ESL and placed back into English with the rest of my classmates. 

Despite my knack for reading, I’ve never really enjoyed writing. Writing has always reminded me of ESL— of a time where I was inferior. In high school, I thought writing was just addressing the prompt and using big words to sound smart. And for the most part, It got me the A’s that I wanted. Even so, I’ve always been disappointed with how dull my writing has been. I could never give it the same sense of life like that of my favorite books.

Even now, I still feel inferior. This year, my writing theory has been changing every day. I’m still growing, but I feel as if I’m finally expressing the thoughts in my head. I’ve learned writing is so much more than getting a grade, It’s about putting yourself on paper. It’s about letting others see into your jumbled mind and give them a sense of order. The big words that have gotten me good grades have actually been diluting my message. Instead, I should’ve been using my diction to buttress my message. 

Writing is to be naked, to let others see who you really are, not what you want them to think who you are, but your true self. The version of you who lays awake at night thinking about the events of your day. The version of yourself who forms harsh judgments at just a glance. The version of yourself who feels inferior. Writing is to open up and let everyone see. 

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5 thoughts on “Learning to Write the Right Way

  1. Sabrina says:

    I really enjoyed and loved reading this post, it hit more personally because I can relate to some aspects. I’ve always loved reading and the concept of having the privilege to absorb and learn from reading has always been something that I highly appreciate.

    When you said, “I could never give it the same sense of life like that of my favorite books.”, that has always been an issue for me when writing because I have this need to make sure that whatever it is that I’m writing is the best version that it can be and it’s a struggle to have a writing that not only is genuine to you but one that you sincerely feel like it captivates what you need to express well enough.

    Nowadays, the most prioritized factor is having that A, even if it means that your writing isn’t the truest form of yourself or if it doesn’t fit the needs of your own personal standards. If it fits the criteria of what is wanted, then that’s all that is taken into consideration.

    I love the line, “The big words that have gotten me good grades have actually been diluting my message.”, I believe that it is all about the authenticity of the writer that makes their piece so significant. Even though grades are important, definitely not denying that, what I deem to be more important is that you’re true to yourself and what better way to truly and freely express yourself than by doing in on paper.

    It’s like you climbed into my mind with that last paragraph, I just realized how long this response is but that’s because I really did enjoy reading this and it has probably been my favorite blog post to read.

    I love your ideas and way of thinking, keep it up!

    1. Abdulah says:

      Thank you so much for the comment! I’m glad you can relate to the post. A lot of people say they don’t like reading, but I can never understand how since it depends entirely on what you’re reading. Do you have any book recommendations as a fellow reader?

      1. Sabrina says:

        Some books that I’ve always enjoyed is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, All American Boys by Jason Reynolds, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (a classic that never goes wrong), The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and last but not least, I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. It all really depends on your personal taste if you enjoy a book or not, hopefully you’ll find something good to read!

  2. MICHAEL says:

    This is a great story about how you became a better reader and writer and how you have developed your own theory on both. Opening up is definitely a great way to become a better writer. It was very interesting reading about how you became a better reader and writer, and I look forward to your writing in the future!

  3. Ethan says:

    This was a touching post, Abdulah. The description used at the beginning of your writing really built a vivid image. I loved the use of repetition, like, “I wrote page after page after page day after day.” I also relate strongly to the end of your piece and love how you worded it. I used to write for the grade, but this class has really helped me grow as a writer.

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