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July 21, 2006

-- Journal --

Learning to write better than Thoreau

By Michel Lee

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. I don't struggle with diction anymore.

I know when to use "infer" and "suggest" and when to use "declares" and "emphasizes." I don't try to fill my papers chock full of big SAT words, because in the end clarity is far more important than vocabulary.

At the same time, I find myself re-thinking the tone of my sentences and paragraphs so that they aren't too overpowering or too polite.

Click Here   Michel Lee at Harvard

Now, I obsess more over trimming quotes and furthering analysis. Often my conclusions are where I find my best ideas and I end up rewriting my entire essay.

I'm also thrilled that this writing course is so instructive, but maybe it's complicated things for me as well.

Before this summer, I never thought of motives and structure. I did the "five paragraph, one sentence thesis" thang, ya know? Writing has never been... easier? No. Rather, my definition of writing has changed.

I've advanced, or at least I THINK I've advanced.

I highly recommend The Essay for anyone who is looking to write papers at the college level.

That said, I'm still struggling with this essay that's due on Monday. I truly dislike Thoreau. I don't understand how the guy can preach simplicity because he writes like a Charles Dickens on steroids.

But I suppose it's good that the subject matter, rather than the actual process of writing the essay, is what bothers me. Who knows?  A challenge might be good.

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