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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Sunday, June 26, 2022

Writing is a tough job, but is worth all the hard work

For the past hour, I’ve been staring at a blank Google Doc page. My fingers are lying motionless at the helm of the keyboard. My mind is wandering into space. Not a single idea is coming to mind.

One of my many passions is sharing my opinion. As a debater in high school, I have taken a great thrill in presenting an argument. Yes, I am a nerd like that. Although we churn out articles each week, us writers don’t always have as easy of a time as it may seem. At times, a golden idea will reveal itself only to peter out halfway through writing the article. Sometimes, multiple ideas will come to mind but simply refuse to flourish into an entirely coherent thought. Time may not be on your side, and homework will get in the way of researching the issue you have an itch to write about. And there are times when your mind literally goes blank. No inspiration. No ideas.

One of the hardest obstacles to overcome is expectations. The majority of the time, they’re expectations that I put on myself. As a writer, I refuse to publish an article that doesn’t provoke thought, change opinion or pique excitement. I am an opinion writer after all; it’s what I do. When I look through my file of articles, it’s sad to see more articles I’ve trashed than submitted: some simply aren’t good enough. I love to start a debate. I really love to argue.

As a novice writer, I am constantly trying to define myself. Should I be professional or conversational? Should I argue a certain side or merely provide personal insight? What is it that I’m known for? I want to be the best. I want to be read by many. But how do I get there? The problem with trying to define is trying not to confine. As a political science major with strong opinions, it’s hard not to write about political issues. You would probably be reading an article about some political topic right now if it weren’t for my lack of time to do research. There’s always a constant battle between what I want to write about, how I want to write it and what actually can flow from the tips of my fingers when I sit down to write.

Looking at my first three articles for The Daily Cardinal, there simply is no way to define what is my signature. Altering the course of mass incarceration, my first article, was very research-heavy, very argumentative and very reminiscent of my debate background. My second article, regarding Walker’s absence being harmful for Democrats, was focused on the big current events issue of the week and my opinion on it. The article was more about my own inferences, backed up by evidence, rather than the evidence itself. The piece on the rise of collegiate Quidditch was the odd duckling.

I wrote about my passion and not about what news deemed as important. I combined my experience with an explanation of what it is that makes my passion so interesting. Last but not least is the article you’re reading now, a piece that practically escapes potential categorization. There truthfully is no way to categorically define the pieces I have written so far. Each and every one, despite being from me, has its own character and defining attributes. There is no piece that is distinctly “Ben Miller” and perhaps that’s a good thing.

With regards to the articles that have yet to come from me, I’m not sure where I will take them. By leaving myself open up to this point, I have allowed my articles to define themselves. When I start to write an article, I never know what the end product will be. The fact that it simply comes from my mind as I write is what defines it as genuinely me. It is not something that I artificially constructed in my mind. Without a doubt, I am excited to see what journey I will take you on with my subsequent articles. My one goal is to keep you, the reader, coming back for more. It may not be easy being a writer, but it sure is a heck of a lot of fun.

Ben Miller is freshman majoring in political science. Please send all comment and questions to opinion@dailycardinal.com.

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