Literacy Narrative Project- Second Draft

Daniel Cohen

English 2150


Academic Writing

When I think of academic writing, I think of writing for assignments in school specifically. I think that specifically when it comes to academic writing it relates more to the research context. This is a form of writing that I do not feel as comfortable with academic writing than with creative forms. In high school I did not like school, I felt like a rebellious teen, I was 16 and then my class read The Catcher in the Rye, that had a strong impression on me. At the time, I couldn’t really tell why I felt similar to Holden Caufield as a person, but I did. I felt as if I did not relate to a lot of the people around me, I felt as if a lot of the people around me were “phony” and I thought the novel taught a valuable lesson on humanity. Part of being a person is individualism, if you comply with ideals you are told to comply with then your extinguishing the concept. This was my sophomore year and I was a good reader but I had never really gotten that far deep into writing outside of the classroom setting. Throughout middle school, I would go home after school and glue myself to the couch and play video games till it was dinner time. Then after dinner, more video games and the cycle ensued. My sophomore year of high school things began to change for me. I started to take school less seriously, I thought that I would be able to “scheme” my way through high school by unethical means and began to hang out with older kids than myself. However, at the age of 16 years old I started keeping a diary. I really wanted to discover who I was and I thought that by writing a little bit every day that eventually I would begin to figure out who I was. At 16 I had little direction and did not know what I wanted to do in college, all I knew was that I sucked at Math and Science, but when I tried in the liberal arts classes I thrived. I think that this writing is vastly different than academic writing which is mostly based off research models, but that writing even requires some analysis with it.

Holden Caufield, this was a name that really had a lot of impact on me. For me, he really was a hero figure because even though he did not confront any of the people that he had issues with he understood society. He understood that he wasn’t well liked by a lot of people and because of this, he sees how a lot of people simply prop their lives up so they look like they’re having the time of their lives to the outside world. I fit in pretty well in my school, however, I had felt like an outsider because there were a lot of kids who were pretentious. Pretentious in the sense that they felt they were more important than the most important problems going on in the world, and as long as their lives were in order they did not care about the outside. I wanted to write a book about how my perspective of growing up in a town that hid me from the reality of the real world. I wanted to call the book the bubble. I agreed with George Orwell a lot, he stated that one of the motives behind why people write is to push people in a political sense. In a way, this is what I wanted to do, I wanted for people to understand how ignorant the pursuit of money made them. I never went through with writing the book, but I did take a creative writing course my junior and senior year of high school. It really expanded my outlook on the world. I would write stories about many things. The class really made me think about being a writer, I wanted to become and I think this is how academic writing ties into that idea.

Academic writing is thought by many people to be writing that is done purely for school, however I believe that academic writing is when you are writing and learning also. You do not have to be in a school setting, I feel like it’s a very arbitrary thing. In college, I stopped pursuing writing to focus on school, but my school is what kept the learning going. By being a political science major, my most important assignments in my major courses are nine times out of ten essays. These essays require arguments about very specific topics, topics that I was not familiar with prior to encompassing it. I see myself as an active academic writer because I know there is essentially no limit to what I can learn about writing. Also there is a lot of stuff in the political science world that can fool the average researcher as being credible. In reality a source may not be as credible as it is, by going through the process of academic writing and creating an annotated bibliography you learn that things may not be as credible as thought. Also as the writer of an academic piece since it is likely pertaining to researching a hypothesis it helps the credibility of the paper when the things being researched are fact checked and peer reviewed.   I would encourage others to think of writing more about exercise to the imagination. If you have a wild imagination as a child, like I did, you will almost certainly enjoy creative writing. The beauty of writing is that if you really do come to love it, you do not have to do it for the “sheer egoism” that Orwell suggests many are in it for. You can do it because you have a passion for having others hear your perspective. Even if that perspective is through characters you create as a writer, the perspective comes from the author.

I think that creative writing is the steppingstone to academic writing, academic writing entails more attention from the research sector and gathering evidence in support of an arbitrary hypothesis. Academic writing is different because of tone and direction, what I have shown is that I developed as a writer in general through creative writing. By expressing my perspective through story telling I have figured out a method to my writing that helps me better further my points in academic writing which is more argumentative than narrative based.  This was how he was able to see what was on their mind. I think writing is similar in that depending on what your writing, your tone is what represents what is truly on your mind, academic writing is more of arguing to prove a hypothesis right or wrong. The truth is that creative writing is a powerful vice in developing the commentary skills needed to be an effective arguer in an academic piece of writing.

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