"A day of bad writing is always better than a day of no writing." ~Don Roff

Quite frankly, we are our own worst critics. 
Before I even begin writing I have to unleash my thoughts into notebook paper and random documents, just so I have material to work with. 
 
Sometimes I can write for hours with no breaks or hesitation, but there are times when I can’t seem to write a single word. 
 
When I wrote this notebook entry I was very optimistic and wanted to reflect positivity through my words. 
 
Though I would not compare myself to Maya Angelou or Zora Neale Hurston, I hope to maintain a cheerful tone towards my skills and desire to become a writer. 
Nothing can be gained by putting myself down and halting my own progress.
 
How do I see myself as a writer?
I consider myself to be a pretty good writer. I know many people believe that only bad writers believe that they’re good writers, but I don’t see an advantage to self-deprecating the skills that I’ve spent years developing and will continue improving upon in the years to come. 
 
I see myself as an honest writer, who has a habit of ignoring other people’s advice as to how I should arrange my ideas when it comes to non-APA style papers. 
 
I have more experience with research papers than I do with fiction, but people tend to enjoy my writing style either way.
 
I’ve been told that I am able to convey thoughts and emotions very clearly in my stories, but that I don’t focus enough on the actions that my characters are doing. 
 
I am able to call attention to the expression of actions when reviewing the works of others, but struggle to do the same with my own. 
 
I have a wide vocabulary from all the books I’ve read over the years, and am able to write realistic dialogue. 
 
I also tend to write with few grammatical errors, and when I do make errors, I correct them by changing punctuation, or altering entire sentences.
 
One common criticism I receive is that my ideas aren’t explored in the detail that they could be. 
 
For example, in MLA papers, I tend to introduce a topic, provide evidence from the text, and give a simple explanation as to its relevance. 
 
This is problematic because in English and creative writing courses, I have opportunities to delve into my interpretations and reasoning, but I don’t take those chances. 
 
This may be due to the fact that in my psychology courses I must write succinctly, stating facts and avoiding lengthy descriptions. 
 
However, I must also stick to the word and page limits enforced by professors, which prevents me from exploring all the points I want to bring up on a topic. 
 
This obstacle brings me to my biggest challenge, and weakness, in my writing: limiting myself to a few key points and focusing on those points.
 
What is my writing goal for the semester?
I hate writing outlines, which is why I struggle so much with staying focused when I write. 
 
Too many topics relate to one another, and if I’m not writing a thesis paper, I can’t stop myself from bringing in fascinating evidence. 
 
Even with thesis papers, I’ve noticed that I take mini detours at least once per assignment. 
 
My grades are able to remain As because I’m able to explain my topics clearly, but often this issue of mine causes my grade to be an A- rather than the A+ that it could be. 
 
This term, if I am able to remain focused in my papers by making no detours, I will be very proud of myself and know that I’ve made a lot of progress. 
 
After all, if I remain focused, I’ll be able to thoroughly explain my topics and use the advice that I’ve been given.
 
How can the class help improve my writing?
Our class is small, which means we’re able to have discussions and hear one another’s opinions, but many classmates aren’t comfortable sharing their opinions. 
 
I do my best to answer questions and provide my opinions, while giving space so anyone else can join in, but it is discouraging when I’d like to hear alternate opinions, and none are given. 
 
I remember what it was like to be a freshman, so I understand the hesitation.
 
Now that we may move to online lessons, because of COVID-19, classmates who are uncomfortable speaking up have the chance to simply type their thoughts for the rest of the class to read. 
 
When it’s time to have our thesis papers peer-reviewed, I hope that the classmate(s) who review mine provide their honest feedback by telling me whether my paper is easy to follow and whether they are easily able to understand my argument.
 
Looks like I finished this around 6:45 pm, which means I beat my goal! It feels nice to accomplish an academic goal. Let’s see if I can manage the same tomorrow!
 
 
~
Hi there, I just wanted to add that these “Reader’s Notebook” posts are unedited versions of what I submitted to my English professor for my final project. 
Honestly, I am pretty hard on myself – especially when it comes to writing – so having a record of what I deemed to “acceptable” work will help me hold myself accountable. In this way, I will be able to truly track my progress as a writer.

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