I love my blog. I love to write. I love to read all my favorite blogs. So why have these things all been at the bottom of my list recently? I wish I had a good reason, but alas…
2017 is approaching rapidly with all the pressure to make “resolutions” in hopes that it will somehow be better than the preceding year. I’m not actually a fan of resolutions; they seldom last longer than a few months. Be that as it may, I have several ideas roaming around my brain and they involve writing, reading, blogging, and other “literary” endeavors.
As I was perusing the online universe this week, I visited Yeah Write’s website, and found the “Kickoff Post” for this week’s non-fiction challenge. This in turn led me to Rowan’s “Non-fiction Know-how” post about “Making your own Master Class.” I read this and thought, “Yes! This is exactly what I need!” It’s been *ahem* a “few” years since I finished college, a place where I was writing essays so often that I thought I could do it in my sleep. Maybe I even did do a few in my sleep back then, I really couldn’t say! In any case, I have recently come to the realization that I have completely lost my sense of how to structure an essay, of how to make it concise, interesting, and well-organized. My goals for 2017 require that I fix this as soon as possible. What better place than Yeah, Write? I participated in the “Super-Challenge” earlier this year and found the feedback I received there to be quite valuable.
Two weeks ago, I sat for the “Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française” (DELF) exam. I just found out that I passed the exam (yay!) and will have a certificate saying I have a level B2 in the French language! While this is good news, the bad part is that I just barely passed. I am not the sort of girl to be happy with “barely passed.” So, I tried to analyse where I could do better.
I actually did the best on the part of the exam that I feared the most: the oral presentation. So why did I do better there than on the written presentation? I can never be sure, because I will not receive actual feedback, but I think that at least part of it is due to my (in)ability to present a well-structured essay. I also realized that I can no longer do that very well even in English. I think that was one thing I did better on the oral presentation because the topic I chose came “pre-organized.” In the text excerpt I was given, the author asked three hypothetical questions. I used those questions as my outline and proceeded to present my opinion based on them.
The written exercise, however, was freer. I had to write a letter to the mayor of a town to express my disappointment that the town would be cancelling an annual free summer concert due to finances, and to try to persuade him to reinstate the event, giving ideas for how to overcome the financial obstacles. It definitely would have been easier in English, but I feel that if I had a better grasp on structuring a “proper” essay or persuasive letter in my own language, I would be better at trying to do so in my second language.
Which leads me back to the “Yeah Write” challenges. I’ve wandered in and out of Yeah Write since I first joined WP and I always find good writing going on over there. I love Rowan’s idea of “making my own master class,” and of course she has great resources and even Step 1 and Step 2 laid out for me in her post. I think getting better at essay-writing in my own language is a great first step to becoming better at writing in my second language.
On the bright side, I have tons of great source material after having spent a month in France for the second time earlier this year. I have even collected all the necessary materials for participating in the upcoming “April A to Z Challenge.” A secondary resolution will be to have all of those posts finished before April even hits so I will have more time to read the other participants posts!
Wish me luck, chers lecteurs. I begin this resolution here with the “Yeah Write” weekly writing challenge. I resolve to attack this with the zeal of the great master Yoda, who is a champion for those who “do”, because in fact, “there is no try. ”