Getting in the Spirit to Write

National Day on Writing

By Pulse Staff

University of Findlay students with a love of writing got a different chance to express their creativity recently when they painted the Spirit Rock on the north end of campus. They also painted posters and a banner, all to celebrate National Day on Writing, an event that falls on Oct. 20 every year and is sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

English Department Chair Sarah Fedirka, Ph.D., says that people may not realize they write all the time.

“Any email, any tweet, any text,” Fedirka said. “And the idea that social media is somehow ruining language…no–that is not destroying our culture in any way. In fact, people are writing now more than ever before, for all kinds of immediate live audiences, right?”

Fedirka says writing for a live world-wide audience brings language alive.

UF Senior Emma Smith, a senior double major in pre-law and English, says writing is special to her.

“Writing is just an easy way to tell a story,” Smith said. “I think it helps a lot emotionally working through things as well as just on the other side of it, reading other people’s stories and growing from that.”

Smith also works at the Writing Center in room 135 in the College of Business and Student Life building, and tutors other students in writing. She sees some common issues when students come to visit for help.

“A lot of it normally comes down to formatting,” Smith said. “I think from major to major we switch from MLA to APA and I know from my own personal experience I’ve had to have that transition. And sometimes that transition is a little hard figuring out where you’re supposed to cite on this paper vs. the paper.”

She also says grammatical errors and just the struggle to come up with ideas for writing are other common things she sees, but she encourages students to schedule an appointment with the center or stop by.

“I’m definitely there every Wednesday night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for just the drop-in hours,” Smith said. “You don’t have to have an appointment you just come on in and anyone can be there to get helped.”

Smith also says sometimes the hardest part of writing is just getting started.

“Just sit down and just write things on a page and then normally from there you’re able to grab things that you actually want to put into a paper,” Smith said.

Dr. Fedirka also says to ‘just do it.’

“Writing takes practice. We like to think of writers as someone who was born with a gift and they sit in a room and come out hours, weeks later with a masterpiece–not true,” Fedirka said. “Everyone drafts, and writing, like anything else you want to get good at, takes practice. It’s like a sport.”

The Writing Center and the English Department will be giving away free books at the Writing Center on Oct. 20. Other writing groups such as the Pulse and UFDM are encouraging people to share why they write on social media. Tag the Twitter accounts @UFPulse and @UFDMClub and include #WhyIWrite.

Fedirka says everyone has a story and each person should get the opportunity to tell their own story.

“I would just encourage people literally to just write,” Fedirka said. “And think about the ways that writing is meaningful to them and the ways that they can share their own unique experiences with other people through writing.”

You can watch a video version of this story here.

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