As I have been working at the writing center at my university for more than two years now, I have come to realize a few things. The biggest thing is that I have never read an essay or paper that is something I would call “bad”. I have read so many works and talked to so many students, that I have come to understand that each work, no matter how good, can be improved somehow.
I have dealt with countless essays that have amazing content, but lack organization. Inversely, there are some written works that have impeccable organization, yet they are lacking in excitement, pizzazz, etc. And let’s not forget about the essays with ‘bad” grammar. No, this is not the case. I have learned that sometimes people are writing in a dialect that they are comfortable with. For example, I am an English Major, but my texts look like this: “Hey, you wanna come over later and watch TV? I’m just chillin right now and I’m bored”
That has tons of grammatical and punctuation errors, but I am comfortable texting that way. And no one questions it.
Now, I am not saying that there are not students who need a refresher on grammar. But I am saying that having bad grammar doesn’t make the entire work “bad”. For instance, there are ELL students I work with all the time who come in with the idea that their work needs to be fixed. I swear, the content of their essays and projects is phenomenal, it just needs to be smoothed over some.
I want to stop the stigma that people who need this type of help are “bad” writers because it takes a toll on their confidence in their own work. This isn’t fair to them, and it isn’t fair to future writers either. Funnily, my job actually turns down anyone who considers themselves a “grammar Nazi” for obvious reasons. For one, it can be kind of horrible term. I mean comparing yourself to a that group? Maybe not in the best taste. Also, we encourage freedom with writing at my job.
There was actually one time we got scolded because there had been a bout of judging clients’ work, and my boss DID NOT like it. We are meant to be an inclusive, safe space for writing.
All in all, my main point was to say that there are no truly bad writers out there in my opinion. So go out and write. Write about whatever makes you happy. Even if no one sees it, it still makes you feel good! 🙂