Rigid writing structure asphyxiates creative flow of ideas
Opinions Column: I Hate Writing
The Rutgers Football Team: Under siege by all who love to over-exaggerate and lack sound research. Attacked by those looking for a plotline to add to their network TV series fix. A boneheaded lack of respect for a family of over one hundred people whose voices are silenced due to how others perceive them in society. No member of this team can speak their mind without seemingly representing the rest of the group that they are affiliated with. It feels like in order to comply with a system that gives us college football players so much influence, we must silence ourselves to ensure that we do not misrepresent our team. A catch-22 of sorts, that provides me with a voice but at the same time takes it away. This disgruntles me, but nonetheless I understand that we must try our hardest to protect the integrity of the program that was built by many before us. If we learn how to express our opinions within this structure, we can optimize our positions.
Writing an opinion article about my team was my solution, seemingly taboo to me within the construct of college football. During a time in which my teammates and I couldn’t use the john without being criticized about what our intentions were. I felt as though expressing my feelings in this fashion gave me/us a new kind of voice. I wrote my first column without hostility, but to represent the sentiments of a singular football player and his feelings toward his team. The piece was gracefully accepted by the public, but more importantly by my team. So much so that our head coach displayed his excitement about the article to the team. But in classic inquisitive Coach Flood fashion, he asked me about the title of my article. A little brazen for someone that represents more than himself. What does the title of my column mean? I began to think.
I Hate Writing. The title of this column embodies my sentiments toward the skewed communication between college football players and the media. I was asked to come with a name for the column a couple of minutes prior to its deadline. My witty college brain started conjuring up all types of corny titles that I couldn’t possibly settle with. Should I relate it to my association with the football team? I feel as though I offer an interesting perspective from a point of view that is seldom expressed in a public forum. Nah, cliché. Maybe football wasn’t the answer for once. I wanted a title with a grandiosity that resonated with readers. A title that expressed exactly what this column meant to me — exactly how I felt about writing. I hate it.
Yes, I hate writing. A phrase that came so natural it’s a shame. Especially as a college student majoring in communication. How could I say I hated, arguably, the most meaningful form of communication? Text. After all, text records our past, our ideas, or breakthroughs, our funny group messages and so on. Written language is a part of what makes us human. Writing gives us identity, and it did the opposite.
Since writing book reports in grade school, I despised writing. Yes, the introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion. All about what happened in the book, no opinion. Then on to high school where we had to write essays about things that I didn’t care about in a way that was confusing. In addition to the lack of interest, there were page requirements. Not only do I have to "BS" you for a good grade, but I have to do it for a minimum five pages, double-spaced, and in size 12 font. Times New Roman? Not to mention, the best torture device ever created for a young pupil: the research paper. Then college, where I was fortunate enough to test out of "Basic Composition" and jumped straight into the fiery pits of hell known as "Expository Writing." A class where I had enjoyed the required readings and writing about what I had read, but apparently learned nothing. I boasted a C grade from my first paper to my last. A class where my well thought-out opinions no longer mattered, because I was confused as to what constituted good grammar.
I now realize that it was never the pen to paper that made me hate writing, it was the structure. I feel as though the box that we are required to put our thoughts in, restrict what they could possibly become. I believe that structure is necessary, but only when taught in a way that allows us to apply our perspective and understand how that perspective relates to what we are writing about. We have these amazing minds that are all too often limited by a grade we see on a paper. If we are taught more often how to embody the structure of writing and how to make it ours, writing can be an outlet. This is where writing becomes poetry. This is where the hate of writing becomes a love. This same tool that seemingly stifled me in the past, is used to carve out exactly what I need to communicate.
Julian Pinnix-Odrick is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in communication with a minor in human resources. His column, "I Hate Writing," runs on alternate Mondays.