Simple Memes for Complex Writers

I had trouble finding a meme that captures who I am as a writer. Can any single meme really encapsulate the multifaceted aspects of what may make anyone identify as a writer? Many of the memes I came across were about specific “types” of writers – fiction, journalism, academic – and limited goals (mastering grammar, earning a buck). So I decided to choose several memes that capture certain aspects of my writer self.

Meme #1 expresses how, although I know how to start the act of writing, I always struggle with how a particular piece of writing should begin. I think a lot before I begin to write, but, with all of those ideas cooking in my head, how do I introduce my topic in a way that will draw in my readers? How do I capture the complexities without overgeneralizing or oversimplifying my arguments? Meme #1 encapsulates this particular struggle well. Not only can I not “simply think” of a strong first sentence, but I can’t “simply write” one either. This goes well beyond the first sentence and applies to my entire introduction (illustrated in Meme #2). I used to struggle with the first paragraph for hours and hours (getting nowhere) until I realized what is expressed in Meme #3: I typically don’t know what I really think until after I’ve done a substantial amount of writing, so it’s no wonder I can’t write an introduction for an argument that I haven’t formulated yet. It’s only after I write (and read, and research, and rewrite) that I can begin to understand what I really want to say. Essentially, I have to first write about a topic in order to learn more about it before I can articulate my own argument or analysis of it. This is probably why I find a better “opening sentence,” or even an entire introduction, somewhere near the end of my essays. Even then, it often doesn’t entirely capture everything I’m trying to say, so I still have to continue revising. The revision meme (#4) expresses how I often feel like a perpetual “reviser” since I do far more rewriting than initial writing. Even though I know revision is part of writing, I still have those moments of frustration when I read over something and decide it’s a hopeless mess. Meme #4 reminds me of how I often have to tell myself to calm down, that I can do it. Once I relax, I can turn my frustration into a more focused and productive act: revision. By my final version, I’m usually much more satisfied with my writing, even if that pesky first sentence isn’t quite perfect.

Meme #1

boromir-opening-sentence-essay

Meme #2

hour paragraph

Meme #3

flannery_oconnor_quote_writing

Meme #4

keepcalm

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