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Debunking the Myth of the Bad Writer

October 28, 2015

By: Jonathan Williams

Our education system has failed you. It has oppressed and silenced you. It has made you feel small and insignificant. It has discouraged and frightened you. Okay, so maybe this is a little harsh, but from my experience, it seems that nearly everyone who walks through the doors of the Appalachian State University Writing Center starts their session with the same six words: “I’m sorry, I’m a bad writer.”

Yet despite this deplorable mantra of self-deprecation, it seems that in fact no one is a bad writer. At the end of the session, I want to don my black cape and mask and say, in heavily breathed manner, “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” This statement, of course, said minus the whole Force-choking aspect. Nevertheless, I do find many students’ lack of faith disturbing. For those who do find themselves having the “bad writer” identity, you have been the victims of a system that has devalued and critiqued your writing to the point of you losing hope. As a wise person once said, and I paraphrase here, “Haters going to hate, hate, hate, and you got to shake it off, shake it off.” Don’t worry; there will be more pop culture references to come. Stay tuned!


What is good writing or a good writer then? To be honest, there’s so many possible answers it’s difficult to say. We as college students, or even as human beings, interact with text and information constantly. I do not claim to be an expert on writing and what makes it good or bad. I will say, however, that I see a good writer as someone who is able to communicate clearly and effectively. Think of it this way: writing is a channel for my idea to go from a thought in my mind to yours. A good writer is able to navigate the channel so that the thought is not interrupted and does not change its shape or form from my mind to yours. Everyone has played the game telephone, right? This is the same concept. Sadly for us, perfect communication, which I described in the previous sentences, is impossible. Hence why you either love a character in a show or book, or you despise them, and someone else can have the equal and opposite reaction. Though we all can agree that [SPOILER] Joffrey Baratheon is a complete ass and deserved to go purple in the face.

There may be some work in expressing the client’s opinion so it can be better transferred between minds, but overall the idea or thought is there and able to be understood. So take off the identity of the bad writer, my friends. Even the best of writers have trouble communicating their intentions and ideas. A blank page is a beautiful thing filled with endless opportunities, no longer a thing of abject horror. Well, unless you’re staring at it, and the essay is currently due in three hours. But that is a different challenge altogether; I recommend time management and procrastination resources to help with that problem. Forget the times of others calling you a bad writer. I’m here to tell you to disregard anyone who just simply says you are bad writer. Writing can always be improved, but that doesn’t mean you are a bad writer. You are a good writer, if you only accept it about yourself.


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