Self-Awareness as a Writer

In 1986, There was a movie about a man who wanted to help his discouraged son get through college, a funloving and obnoxious rich businessman decides to enter the school as a student himself. You guessed it the famous “triple lindy” scene from the movie “Back to School” starring Rodney Dangerfield. I am not quite the same as Rodney, however at the age of 39, I have decided in order to master my craft, I would enroll in college.  I figured I would start with the biggest challenge first.  Just a couple of weeks ago, I began ENG 111: Composition 1.  I wanted to post my first writing assignment so that as years go by, I could use it as a measure of my journey as a writer.  So here it is, I hope you enjoy it.

“My colleague, Chris and I started a blog called The Friday Rally a couple months ago.  I want to be clear, we were not looking to get a Pulitzer prize for our excellence in writing, it was simply for the documentation of our life story.  “The Long Road” is the title of the Introduction on our blog.  During a conversation about our professional career, it led to the topic of writing a book and not just any book, but a book that would add value into the lives of others.  The task seemed daunting to us.  How can we possibly write a book?  It was then we had our aha moment.  We would document our journey over a period about our challenges, our victories and any principles that we learned that helped us in our growth.  We then realized we needed to decide on how to organize all these thoughts.  That’s when Chris decided we could create a blog.  We write on multiple topics, however, we are very intentional about how and what we write.  To support that, we created a one-page document that acts as the outline for our blog.  We have a main post every week on Friday at 3 pm.  The name comes from a cool story.  When Chris and I first started working together we agreed it would be a great idea to have a weekly meeting to talk about our progress, plans for the next week and any bigger goals that we needed to start planning for.  Sometimes our meeting is not about business related topics; we may choose to discuss personal victories that we’ve had or a book that we are reading.  Once we decided to put the meeting in our calendar we realized that we needed to name the meeting, we took a couple of days for the creative progress to kick in.  Chris handed me a sticky note with four name ideas and one of them was Friday Rally and at that very moment, The Friday Rally was born.

Within one week of the post going live, I had a tremendous amount of fear and anxiety about posting an article.  I completely failed my creative writing classes in school because I could not come up with a topic to write about and I was definitely not getting up in front of the class to talk about it.  My personality is one that is concerned about what others think of me, to the point that I think about what others may think about something I say, so I think through that process before talking. Then my colleague said to me; “hey why don’t you post all of your articles on your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts”.  All those feelings resurfaced once I knew I had to post an article, you could only imagine the thoughts rolling through my brain.  “Are you kidding me right now” I asked myself, I am already terrified about what Chris is going to think about my article and on top of it I should post my article on all social media platforms.   Great now all my peers can see that I am capable of writing at a 3rd-grade level.  At the time, I didn’t even know what a thesis statement was let alone how to structure a proper outline and the rules of grammar and punctuation, I had no clue.  I kept avoiding it every day, and that made it worse.  My friend the graceful person he is would continue to encourage me to post something, he would say; “it doesn’t matter the quality of what you are writing just write something and you’ll get better with practice”.  I started writing and with a short 8-hour writing block, I completed 900 words or so.  It’s interesting because they say that the best way to face fear is to take action, and that is exactly what I did.  However, that feeling did not go away for weeks and up till the last article and before each one I posted, I had a sickening feeling in my gut.  I share all of this to discuss my challenges about writing.  I love sharing stories verbally I just struggle to communicate those thoughts into words.

Here’s exactly how I plan to become a great writer in my journey of development.  Prior to starting the blog, I knew I would be attending college in the summer.  I had no idea what a schedule or class options would be.  Once I went through the enrollment process and was accepted, I met with my counselor and she laid out a path for my term at WCC.  I then took my class options to one of my mentor’s, Wayne.  We then decided to create a game plan on what to take based on what I could learn, that would immediately make an impact in my professional career.  I am a fiduciary advisor for a wealth management firm.  As I am looking at the schedule before my meeting with Wayne, I was thinking it would be a business course, accounting, econ or something towards our profession, he said; “you’ve shared with me that writing is something you want to improve on, so let’s start there”.  All the feelings came back again; I was thinking “holy crap, summer is already a short semester plus the only online class that is available is a late start”.  Here I am writing my first assignment and instead of fear, I am very eager to learn and in the few short hours this week, I have enjoyed what I have already learned.  I may not be a great writer yet, but I will work hard and use all the resources that are available to me.  I will back up my learning from this course with an additional writing course in the fall.  I have already registered for a business communication class (BMG 207).  I never liked reading in school, nor did I like reading the years after, until a few years ago.  I was attending a leadership conference and the speaker said; “Readers are leaders and leaders are readers”.  I thought that to be a profound statement and then she followed it up with; “I know a lot of you don’t like to read and that’s ok because I didn’t either, if you just start reading a little bit each day and you enjoy what you are learning eventually you will love to read”.  Currently, I would consider myself to be a reader who loves to read and the wealth of knowledge that I have learned from reading is priceless.  With that being said, I am going to apply the same principle to writing and in time I will love to write as well.

I see much value in the skill of writing, although it is a weakness now, I have a plan and I will apply consistent daily effort to becoming the writer I strive to be”.

There you have it my first writing assignment and now here is the response from the professor, “This is really strong work.  My one note of consistent issue is your sentence structure.  You have a lot of sentences that blend multiple clauses together.  These need to be separated by a semi-colon.  Review this work in the style manual and we can try and deal with it this semester”.  I think he was being kind, knowing that it was our first assignment and all.  As always thank you for taking the time to listen to my story.

Small Victories!

Luke Noble

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