I can’t remember the first time I wrote an essay. Perhaps it was in the third grade, though it could have easily been the fourth or fifth. What I can remember is that I’ve always liked- loved- writing them. I was that one kid who complained about how it was too much work, but secretly loved the process.
Essays are sculptures. The first draft is an agglomeration of ideas, a dense mass of thoughts. It is a hunk of rock that has the potential to be more. The contents of the first draft are hacked apart with scribbles like foliage is hacked apart by a conquistador with a machete, making his way through the jungle. Some sentences are reattached elsewhere, a few are stored for another day, and some are cast aside entirely. What emerges from this ruthless process is the second draft. Polish a sentence here, tweak a phrase there, fix those pesky spelling errors and voila: the final draft.
There is something joyous about writing on a computer- the rhythmic clacking of the keys, the pristine blankness of the screen, with no lines drawn across it. Yet I still prefer ink on paper and that preference is rooted in my love for essay writing. The glee that accompanied the penning of the final draft was boundless for me. The flawless finished product was a thing of beauty and a joy to behold. Blue lines curving intricately around each other in perfect harmony, the whole paper entirely devoid of markings. This was the result of hours of hard work, and by God, it was perfect.
The editing process is another reason why pen and paper is preferable- for me, anyway. Anything you choose to put down on paper exists forever. It cannot be permanently obliterated by pressing the delete key. Even if you cross out a sentence, it remains. The fate of those unfortunate sentences can be revised, or postponed. The editing marks are layered upon each other, and with each rewriting, it gets a little better. Ideas are preserved, no matter how silly or awful, a permanent reminder that this is a game that scores you on how many times you get up and give it another go, instead of getting up and walking away.
Essays are a special, meaningful type of writing for me. They are a symbol of excellence, a testament to what labor can achieve. They are a source of pride and faith- faith in my abilities, especially my ability to improve. An essay about writing essays? Write up my alley.