Keep Your “A” : Find Your Voice
You have a way of expressing yourself in English. It is most likely that your writing reflects how you speak. If you talk in short, choppy sentences, you may find it hard to write paragraphs. If you tend to ramble, you can probably fill a page in English, but completely lack focus in Spanish. Finding your writer’s voice can be hard if there’s always a grade attached to your writing. The solution is to write when there is no grade. Try the following:
- Keep a physical journal. This will require you to write with a pencil or pen. On Monday, write three sentences as fast as you can. It doesn’t matter if they’re related. No repeats. On Tuesday, do the same thing with three new, but longer sentences. On Wednesday, write three new, even longer sentences. On Thursday, write run on sentences that go on and on and on. Thursday is the day your punctuation can be terrible. But before school on Friday morning, pick one or two of Thursday’s sentences to fix. Correct your punctuation and edit any other mistakes that you can see.
- Blog in Spanish with a friend. This gets you typing in Spanish, which gets you using both hands, which involves both sides of your brain. You will become more aware of how to use accents because doing so will take an extra keystroke or two. Since you and your friend both blog, comment on each other’s posts. Have fun with color and pictures. Add links to favorite videos. Share your posts on Facebook. Be internet safe.
- Write poetry that rhymes. Focus on rhythm and what comes at the end of the line. Who cares if it makes sense? Did Dr. Seuss make any sense? Make it rhyme.
- Write poetry that doesn’t rhyme. Abandon rhythm. The end of the line is there because you want to create a slight pause and emphasis of thought on a certain word.
- Write something serious. Serious words only. If you read out loud, do any words make you smile? Don’t use those.
- Write something funny. If it’s not funny by the fifth sentence, it’s not going to be funny. Start over. Try again.
- Write something angry! Take what makes you mad and rip it apart in Spanish. Look up whatever words you need. Use those upside down exclamation points!
- Write something sad. Nothing says sad has to be long. Three line haikus can be sad. If the words are right, it’ll be sad.
- Write dialogue. Start with just two characters. After you’ve written a few, expand to three characters. Turn your dialogue into a script to perform in class, free of charge. You are not looking for extra credit. You just want to share.
The whole point of writing in Spanish is that you have something to communicate. What you have to say does matter, even if your audience remains small. So say it. Write it. Don’t worry if anyone will read what you’re currently working on. The masterpiece you’re developing is your voice.