Often one of the questions that homeschooled students and their parents ask is why take a writing class? What benefits does it offer beyond what can be done with a curriculum at home? I’m here to tell you some of the best things that I learned from taking classes at Write from the Heart…and it’s some that you might not have thought of!
One of the issues I encountered in most classroom settings was frustration with the rules. I had ideas and plans that didn’t always fit with what was expected of me, which means that I have definitely pouted through a paper or two in my day. I can’t say I learned much in the moment from those experiences, and even now I have writing styles that I don’t enjoy.
Take a class to learn about yourself.
When I look back on my days of writing classes, however, I see all the ways I learned about myself as a writer and gained the confidence to write about anything I want. I don’t feel limited to one style of writing, and I don’t feel intimidated by branching out to a brand-new kind of work. Sure, I have passion projects that I work on for fun; for example, I have been writing a fictional story about a couple that adopts their friends’ children after they pass. I write these kinds of things to work my imagination and have fun with writing.
But after taking a writing class, I now understand that I can use the power of my voice with topics that require more nuance and sensitivity in writing style.
Take a writing class to find your voice.
Finding ways to use your voice within the confines of assignments isn’t easy, but I think it helps to remember the purpose of your assignments. Looking back, I see that the purpose wasn’t to see who could meet the standards best, but to give each of us the framework to make the assignment whatever we wanted it to be. The standards of the project are the posts on which you hang your work, but you and your voice should always be right in the middle.
As long as you ensure you are putting quality work into the world, you don’t have to fear doing it “wrong” or getting critiqued. Do your best to check your work, cite credible information, and put forth a clear perspective. If you merely attempt to meet the standards of the project, it’s easy to make simple mistakes that can affect your grade. If you focus on being thorough in your writing and using your voice, you will usually end up meeting the standards of your project with ease.
Take a class to stretch your writing skills.
But of course, it’s hard if you aren’t very excited about writing a persuasive paper or a research project. If you are feeling uninspired by a topic or assignment, it is okay to take a unique perspective or ask a teacher if you can put a slightly different spin on something. The goal of assignments is to aid in understanding, not squash innovation.
If you have passion for a specific idea, it’s okay to give that idea to your teacher and ask if that fits the confines of the assignment. And it’s okay to save it for another time, too. You don’t know what you will come up with when you stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone in an assignment that looked boring or too difficult at first.
In the world of writing, being different and putting your heart into your work will only serve you well. The classroom is a place where this is fostered, not discouraged.
Take a writing class to learn to be a better writer.
Like me, you may find that you despise a certain assignment and end up not doing your best on it. That’s okay – it’s how we learn. Instead of allowing an assignment to get the best of you, you can accept that not all writing styles are your forté and still do your best. I have ended up taking on writing projects that I don’t like in various jobs and the practice of doing it in class really helped. I know that at least I have something to look back on to see where I went wrong and how I could do better the next time. Instead of beating ourselves up for lack of perfection, we must focus on learning and growing as writers.
The classroom is a safe place to develop resilience and skill, which helps us build confidence in our writer’s voice. By challenging ourselves to do our best under all circumstances, we can always look back and feel good about what we’ve done.
Instead of running from endeavors that don’t always take a shape we love, we can choose to embrace them at every moment.
Write from the Heart classes help you write better.
Writing can be a stress reliever, a learning tool, a constructive way to express feelings, and many more incredible things. Each person probably has somewhat of a different perspective on what writing means to them, which is what we refer to as their “writer’s voice”. It takes time, practice, and heart to learn how we write best and to find this voice in ourselves and how to use it in various assignments, which is why it can be helpful to take a class to help guide you.
Meet our newest blog writer! James was a student with us for four years, working his way from Composition 104 through Literature 201 and 202 and finished with AP English. James also happens to be one of those special students whose work sticks with you as a teacher–it was a pleasure to walk with him through his high school journey and watch him find his voice and his confidence.
In the years since his graduation, James has continued to hone his skills and works as a freelance writer. He has recently begun working with Write from the Heart as a blog writer.
This piece is the first of many insights he has for student writers. I look forward to sharing more from James in the future!