A rant by a writer who wants to be accepted with her mainstream writing style in the elitist world of academia.
I love to write, therefore I write. However, the frustration in this unrequited love affair is the very problem of writing: my voice. My writings at the time sound too conversational; other times too mainstream and not structured enough.
At the very best, my editor for my thesis, after carefully going through my article, submits to my writing style and calls it journalistically consistent storytelling in its mannerism. I come back to my desk and again start to write in hopes that this time some revelation will occur, and I will find a way through this dilemma to more academic undertone.
My question is, what happens if I lose my voice in my writing whilst complying with the standard requirements of academic writing? Is it always necessary to be so systematic and structured? Can I not apply the same artistic freedom in using words like I would do so in creating artworks strokes.
I am frustrated. Yes, I am frustrated with this so-called academic language that doesn’t allow me to let loose and dance with my letters and words and say what I would say, and to hell with the structure.
I want to express myself and through writing, I want to lose myself to these aimless paragraphs and sentences. I want to tell stories and recall memories, take the reader on a journey, and find a common ground between the lines I type, even if my writing voice is a mix between creative and academic. I would want my writing to be less dry and more entertaining, or perhaps use the term edutaining where my reader will not dose off to the arid style of academia.
I want to blame my Arabic and Italian upbringing and that perhaps because of my heritage, my style is always drawn to that reserved to storytellers and storytelling. Perhaps having that cultural background has made me more narrative-based in expressing myself in the written word which has influenced my English, so I find myself using styles that are more conversational. However, this excuse falls. I would equally love to blame the fact that English is not my first language but how can I hold this true when my speaking skills go against that statement as I can easily and eloquently pass for a native speaker? I try to justify and I am not quite sure if these arguments will suffice and grant me pardon for my writing style in the world of academia.
I find myself again thinking of enlisting into a writing course, but part of me wants to be this rebellious writer that continuously sends articles that are abstract. I hold on to my style of writing as I hold on to an identity. My writing style is mine and this is me. I refuse to let go of my voice.
In conclusion, this is an article dedicated to all those who love to write and find the editing world a cruel cold world with people who pride themselves on being a grammar nazi or a judgmental editor. No, my advice is carry on writing and write some more and one day either two things will happen: you will finally learn to write as the academic, whom I seek to become, or maybe one day through consistency you will be able to find justice for this style within the circle of the elitist writers.
Al Shamsi’s recently published book Alayah by Sail Publishinghas been awarded the support from Dubai Culture part of their printing and publishing movement “Reading in Arabic Challenge”.