There are some things in life that we learn better when we teach it to others.
Now that our homeschooling has started for this school year, I also, on the other hand began to teach writing to my sisters’ and their fellow home-schoolers as one of their subjects once again. I believe that my love for writing has brought me to this place. However, being the imperfect person that I am, I admit that I sometimes make mistakes. Grammar and word-construction wise. What’s best about this experience though, is that I get to learn from those that I am teaching. As I look at patterns on their writing such as in essays and stories, I am amazed that they’re not the only ones learning to improve in their writing — I do as well. From reading and re-writing historical biographies, Folklores, or random essays written down by different personalities, teaching writing has taught me to explore different ways to write and improve in this creative field that I chose. Not only that. Teaching also helped me know more about the history of people I never even knew existed. As I read and check “my students’” works, I realized that each of us have a unique pattern or voice in our writings. No matter what the age, writing truly reflects our minds. And for that, I want to share some of the few things I learned in writing while teaching it.
1. Writing doesn’t necessarily have to be fancy
Having read tons of different blogs about a jumble of things, this fact is already too noticeable not to mention. I’ve read some works which included a lot of jargon words that might not impress the reader as they would’ve expected. Using deep words in a piece is definitely okay but sometimes, when the words doesn’t seem a bit familiar to the reader, it can totally be a turn-off — and that is what I’m trying to work-on. I am totally used to using a much formal theme when writing unlike the others who are simpler, yet better. So my goal is…to make my words understandable yet competent enough.
2. Copying others' work is not a bad idea
As a blogger, I have read on different tips and advises on how to make my writing unique in my own way. The steps always included the word “pattern”. When I say copy, it certainly does not mean plagiarism. Not only would it be disrespectful, but rather, an act of harassment when you claim others’ work as your own. Basing this on the subject that I teach I can prove it to be true. When my students outline their work, they get it from an official text and from that, create their own, using their own words. This is true for the bloggers. We don’t have to COPY others, but get ideas from them. It’s like getting a mixture of everything until you find your own flavor.
3. Reading helps a lot!
Right now, I’ve been busy reading two psychology books (just because I wanted to explore how cognition and intuitive thinking works), a lot of poetry, academic books and classic novels. Not only that, I’ve got this app on my phone called “Medium” which is a great resource for writers and readers alike. I’ve mentioned this because I want to tell you that READING is important. Reading captions on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram aren’t enough. Reading e-mails aren’t helpful either. If you want to get better at writing, start with reading. One book per month, why not? Also, if you aren’t that much of a bookish type, then you could start out by reading simple articles. Why does the brain work like this, why does the cow say moo, there are billions of informative articles that you can find online. If you love writing, you definitely have to love reading. This is one of the lesson I constantly learn when I teach: Writing doesn’t just happen in a blink of an eye; it takes a lot of reading, research, brainstorming and re-editing over and over again. Trust me!
4. Choose the criticisms you respond to
Lastly, here’s what I learned: Not all criticisms are constructive — even when it sounds constructive. Practicing will help you delve in deeper to your writer-self. Until then, you will begin to know what is wrong from right, even when no one tells you about it. Sometimes, when I correct some mistakes in my students’ writing, they don’t always follow right away, simply because I make mistakes too. In that way, it just means that they have learned to master things over time making them masters of their own works. In blogging, I get to hear criticisms from left to right especially when I am passing a piece to an editor of an e-zine or something alike. First thing I do is figure out how and where things went wrong; when the editor has a point, I re-edit my work. But if I’m confident enough with my work, I e-mail them straight away telling them that they have called out a non-existing mistake.
I can honestly say that teaching others to write has helped me become a better writer myself.
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I live an ordinary life; striving and making it work in the giant sandpit aka Dubai. My life isn't perfect (I wish it was!) But I guess there's something about the imperfection in my journey that makes it worth the write and share. I believe that we don't have to have everything figured out because if we do, a lifetime won't be enough...
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