I have been writing for as long as I have been in school. I still remember my earliest writing assignments which involved copying alphabets from the book on to a piece of paper. Eventually, my assignments moved to simple essays which usually involved describing some object such as a house. Like everything else, my writing assignments also got more complex over the years, moving from physical descriptions of objects to critical analysis of a literature piece. Even though many people hate writing, I have almost always enjoyed writing more than oral assignments and there are several reasons for it. When we are orally describing something, we don’t have much time to think and construct sentences. On the other hand, we can take our time to think and describe things or ideas as effectively as possible when we are writing.
Whether we are speaking to someone face-to-face or we are expressing ourselves through writing, our major hope is that the audience members understand our message just like we want to. When we are speaking face-to-face, we have the opportunity to explain things if one or more audience member may not have understood something. But we only have one opportunity to explain our ideas when we are writing. Thus, the most difficult aspect of writing for me is to choose the appropriate words and writing style so that my audience understands my message just as I want. English is not my first language, thus, my vocabulary is still developing. As a result, I do not always know the English word that may best describe what I want to say. Moreover, people from different cultures have different communication styles, thus, writing in a second language for people from different cultural backgrounds is one of the greatest challenges I face as a writer.
As far as the easiest aspect of writing is concerned, I am much more confident engaging in written communication with people who are from my age-group and my generation. This is because we have quite similar communication styles and we also have quite similar opinions and understanding of the world. Thus, it becomes easier to say whatever it is that we want to say because more often than not, the other person understands what we meant.
As far as in-school writing is concerned, I enjoy essays more than stories. We often read stories from quite different eras of which we have little or no knowledge when it comes to cultures and traditions. In addition, we often encounter words in stories that are not often spoken in everyday language. On the other hand, essays usually require us to express our opinions which motivate us because people like expressing themselves. I also enjoy essay assignments on topics which are major current political and social issues. I think my generation has strong opinions on many of these issues because internet has given us a strong voice that my parents’ generation did not have.
I still remember how I did not use to like various steps in school writing assignments such as initial drafts, outline, and final versions but now I better understand the benefits of such processes. The revision steps help us discover mistakes we may have made such as spelling and grammar. It also helps us read the essay from reader’s point-of-view and improve sentences that may be confusing. Similarly, tasks such as outlines help me better organize the essay and make it easier to follow.
I am aware of the fact that Facebook and blogging are often criticized for declining writing skills among young people but I do not agree with such opinions. I actually believe Facebook and blogging are good for our writing skills because they inspire us to write more than we would otherwise. I personally believe my writing skills and vocabulary have improved because I am constantly expressing myself online and I also read comments from other readers. I understand internet communication has given birth to new writing styles including use of emojis and shortened spellings but this could be understood as communication evolution. We have always had slangs, even before the birth of Facebook and blogging and slangs are useful communication tools even if they may not be appropriate for college assignments or workplace communication.
It is often said writing is improved with practice. Most of us know that most students do not enjoy writing assignments because they are boring even if they may be beneficial. On the other hand, people write on Facebook or blog voluntarily because they enjoy the process. Thus, Facebook and blogging may be useful tools to help young people improve their writing skills. A good analogy may be the use of video games in classrooms because video games make learning more enjoyable and enhance students’ engagement with the course material.
I do admit I enjoy writing more now than I used to do in high school. It may be that I have more opinions now and I want to express them. I have greater awareness of my environment and the issues facing our world. I believe Facebook and blogging have been a blessing because they actually inspire us to write more and much of the criticism of social media is due to lack of understanding of lifestyle of younger generations who have basically grown up with the internet.