5 Ways to Love Writing (even if you hate it!)

“Writing is too hard!”

“I can talk about a topic, but I struggle to write about it!”

“I sit down to write and my mind goes blank!”

“I hate writing!”

As a former writing instructor and a current Student Success Coach, I’ve heard it all when it comes to writing. Most students have a lot of anxiety about writing assignments, and sometimes they let that anxiety cloud their opinion of writing in general. They think they can’t write. They think they hate to write. They think writing is useless.

But, I’m here to tell you that, even if you think you hate writing, there are ways to grow to love it! Most of these ways deal with managing your expectations around writing assignments and seeing how useful writing really is in your everyday life. 

Read through these tips and see if you can change your mindset about writing.

 

1. Writing Versus Evaluation

Often when a student says, “I hate writing!” what they really mean is that they hate evaluation. In other words, they don’t like that what they’ve written will receive feedback, corrections, and a grade. It’s natural to have anxiety around grades in general, especially in such a subjective field like writing (more on that later!). If we removed the evaluation part, writing would be much less stressful and less high stakes. But, in order to engage with the writing process and make your writing as strong as it can be, evaluation is necessary. So, instead of thinking about evaluation as an indicator of how you’ve missed the mark, think of it as an opportunity to strengthen your next piece of writing and grow your writing skills in general. 

 

2. See the Value

A question I used to ask my writing classes: “What kinds of writing do you do on a daily basis?” Oftentimes, students would reply that they don’t write at all! But, after thinking harder about the question and realizing that writing is more than just essays or reports, students were able to come up with a giant list of ways they used writing every day: text message, social media posts and comments, emails, work memos, forms, to-do lists, journaling, notes for school, online chat, letters, homework… the list could go on and on! It turns out that writing is a very valuable part of our daily lives, whether we consciously think about it or not. It’s just when writing is formalized and evaluated that we start to dislike it. But, what if we could see the value in those writing assignments too? What are they teaching us and how are they helping us? If we can change our mindset from writing as a chore to writing as useful, we may also see our attitude toward it change. 

 

3. Accept Subjectivity

Writing assignments can be overwhelming — even people who enjoy writing would agree with that! There are so many requirements, moving parts, and opportunities to miss the mark. Writing is not like an objective test with a right or wrong answer; writing is subjective, meaning that there are so many ways to write well and no two people will write the same sentence or paragraph or essay in response to a prompt. This makes “good” writing a really complicated skill to master. But, that should not dissuade you from trying! Just know that what you write is yours — no one else will write it exactly the same way you will! Even if they are given the same question or the same prompt, no one writes like you. Use your unique perspective and your unique voice. 

 

4. Understand Procrastination

When we have a task in front of us that we don’t want to do, it is typical to procrastinate. That’s why, when you have an essay due, you might clean your bathroom or reorganize your bookshelves instead of sitting down to write. Some people equate procrastination with laziness or being easily distracted. But, procrastination is really about managing our emotions about a task — if we feel negatively about our expected performance of that task, we will do whatever it takes to keep that negative result as far away as possible. So, if you find yourself procrastinating a writing assignment, it’s not because you can’t do it or because you’re lazy. It might be because you feel negatively about your potential for success. Shift your mindset about writing, and you might find that your procrastination habits disappear as well!

 

5. Writing as Therapy

There are so many therapeutic and cathartic benefits to writing. Have you ever felt so many emotions about an event that you couldn’t even get your thoughts together? When that happens, consider writing down how you’re feeling — let those emotions spill out onto the page. Don’t worry about spelling or punctuation or grammar — just WRITE! You might find that getting all of those thoughts onto the page helps you clear your mind, and you might even write your way to a resolution or a better understanding. Many people use daily journaling as a way to express themselves and as a way to clear their minds. There are so many examples online of things like motivation journals, gratitude journals, bullet journals, etc. If you’re still feeling like writing isn’t for you, consider finding a personal use for it — maybe you’ll start to see a shift in your appreciation for it too!

 

And finally…

Writing isn’t easy. If it was, there wouldn’t be thousands of textbooks, how-to guides, tutorials, and courses dedicated to the subject. But writing is something we all know how to do and we all do every day, even if we don’t realize it. So, the next time you find yourself about to say, “I hate writing!” ask yourself:

  • What is it about writing that I don’t like? 
  • Is it the writing I’m anxious about or is it my expectations of myself? 
  • How can I use what I’m learning about writing and make it work for me?

 

If you think critically about these three questions and these five tips, you might find that you’ve gone from hating writing to loving it or, at the very least, appreciating its importance in your life. Happy writing!

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Written by Katie Kottemann
Student Success Coach

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