by ~ Eric Lee Baker

My philosophy of writing
consists mainly of a synthesis of styles which I was exposed to in high school. Consequently, my own personal approach to writing is often a very individualistic one and involves what many would consider to be unorthodox methods of composing.

I tend to think of writing as
something which I have no control over, except to perform the act when I feel compelled to do so. This is true even of my academic assignments. If I attempt to start a paper before I know that "click" has taken place, that paper is automatically doomed to failure from the outset. In addition, I also find it difficult to write without some type of music on, especially if the paper is one which I feel confident in writing. I've always guessed that this has something to do with finding a rhythm for my thoughts which will allow the paper to emerge as gracefully as possible, and it seems to work in most cases.

I guess that this approach
has somewhat effected my perception of how writing should be taught as well.     I place a high amount of value upon learning the mechanics of the English language but I strongly disagree with forcing students to adopt a certain style of writing during the period of formal grammar instruction. An exposure to various stylistic differences in the context of literary study would be the most beneficial in helping students find their respective "voice" in regards to writing.

When I was in high school,
grammar instruction pretty much ceased after the eighth grade and the emphasis shifted to the study of literary texts. Consequently, I was exposed to a wide variety of literary styles and began to adopt certain aspects of those styles in my own writing.

This adaptation greatly influenced
my composing process as well. I had already established my own set of stylistic criteria, the actual composition of the paper took little time. To this day, I usually end up with at least a credible essay to turn in. This ability has certainly resulted from what I feel to be an outstanding dedication on the part of my teachers (most of whom were quite demanding), as well as a balanced curriculum which emphasized both formal grammar instruction and literary analysis.

My educational experience
has clearly demonstrated to me that English should not be taught as a definite series of rights and wrongs (outside of basic grammatical matters), but rather, taught to students with the idea that language has universal applications, most of which are unique to individual situations.

Writing plays a part in everything
from filling out a basic purchase order to keeping in contact with friends through written correspondence. Each of these situations calls for unique grammatical and social writing skills as well as an understanding of the style which accompanies each type of communication. I was able to learn and understand these styles through the emphasis my teachers placed upon them during classroom instruction. Consequently, I was also able to translate that emphasis into my own individual style in regards to composing future English assignments.

After taking Rhetoric,
I can honestly say that both my writing and rhetorical style have barely changed. The main realizations which have taken place are that I have had to seriously consider my own stylistic approaches to writing and have thereby become acutely aware of both the limitations and benefits presented by my stylistic tastes. Rhetoric has also exposed me to the widest array of thinking on writings' role in our culture since I became a student. This has broadened my stylistic horizons even more and given me new ideas for my own stylistic approaches in the future.

Overall, my feelings towards writing
tend to side more with those that argue that writing is a gift and really can't be taught outside of acquiring a basic efficiency in its' everyday use. While some people need more prodding than others in realizing their natural talent to write, the majority of those who practice the art of writing for a living have been able to heed that call themselves.

Most importantly, true writers must realize
the never ending process of writing itself. Writing is often one of the main definers in establishing and reflecting a cultures' history and it is of vital importance for writers to realize how important possessing that same reflexive nature is in making their own writing successful.

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