Dear Struggling Writers
By Jennifer Puac
If you are someone who struggles to write and are in need of motivation, take a few minutes to read my letter dedicated to you. Yes, you!
Dear Struggling Writers, Ever burned daylight trying to figure out what to write? Or spent long nights stuck on a piece you wished to conclude? Have you ever had trouble expressing what was on your mind? Well, my friends, you are not alone. To those who struggle with writing: It is natural to feel that way. But don’t be worried that others may find it easy to produce a finished piece of work. Everyone has their own way of writing. In his guide On Writing Well, William Zinsser states that “there are all kinds of writers and all kinds of methods, and any method that helps you to say what you want to say is the right method for you.” Zinsser stresses the concept that there is no “right” way in how you personally write literature. There are writers who need peace and quiet, writers who can’t work without music, writers who prefer using a computer, and writers who must work at a specific time of day to produce their writing, such as I, who have been known to stay up writing into the early hours of the morning. There isn’t one specific way to start or end writing; it’s all up to you. But how do you find the way that best suits you? When writing, finding your way may be a matter of just seconds, or it might take days. The process can be long and hard. Trust me, I’ve been there. The struggle happens to me almost all the time. I tend to overthink what I write and fixate on word choice when creating a piece of writing, and often, I fail to express my thoughts. And failure isn’t a great state to be in. George Orwell stated, “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” According to Orwell, mind and language can affect the way you express your thoughts. Sometimes, your ideas may become cluttered, causing you to have difficulty expressing them. You may end up writing on an entirely different topic altogether. The mind can make it harder for you to write. Isn’t it funny how the mind can take over what you truly want to say? Diction takes on a major role during the process of writing. You may spend hours trying to find the right words to explain your thoughts. And often, we think that certain words will make our writing seem fancier. However, that is not the case. And so we must be open to rewriting our work because sometimes, due to a misused word, it might end up making no sense at all. We might even come to think that we may never become perfect writers and decide to give up. But the truth is, we shouldn’t. We can agree that English is a tough language to master, especially through the art of writing. Yet that doesn’t mean we should hate or give up on writing. English literature can challenge us, leading us to find our own methods of writing. Notice that writers all have different styles of writing. We may be tempted to use other writers' distinct styles, but you shouldn't feel the need to exactly copy any one person's style. It is best to learn from their methods and see why their methods of writing work for them. Be open-minded of others’ works, and if you wish to be influenced by their writing, then do so. It can help you develop your very own method. There is always a way to overcome the difficulties of writing. I am like you, Struggling Writers, an individual who spends hours thinking about what to write and more time still figuring out how to write it. Writing is a practice, a skill to work for. But it is also a form of art to communicate to an audience. The goal is to create writing that expresses you and reaches your reader. Don’t give up on writing because it is hard. Beginnings are always hard, and so are endings. But don’t let that stop you! I bet you every piece of literature you’ve come across that seemed like it was easy for the writer to create probably took them a long time (like us). Start and finish strong. Have the mind-set that you are someone who can do it, because you are. Successful writers all have their methods, and soon you will find yours too. I wish you all the very best.
Jennifer Puac is a class of 2016 mentee from Brooklyn, NY.