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A Writer’s Path

By Frank Yin


Before starting the EWJ program, I thought writing was words on paper. Words were like the dots and lines of a toddler's art. Occasionally, I would add some fancy words to seem intelligent like adding circles and stars to a toddler’s art. Time would always seem to zoom by and my brain would beg me to make some unformed thoughts into a paragraph.

On the first day, I knew I could not write a mediocre essay to my editor. It would be like serving raw food to Gordan Ramsey (a famous chef that rages a lot). I analyzed the writing style and structure of the examples that EWJ provided. I was like a cook finding key ingredients and techniques in a recipe. I pictured a logical progression of my essay as a cook would picture their final dish. And I finished with a well cooked steak with poor seasoning and plating. Surprisingly, my food was not thrown or spit at me. Instead, I felt like my feedback was a chef helping a chef.

The following days, I found a base structure for different categories of writing. I found cooking tools that I liked when challenged with different ingredients. Each day I would go back and try to create the same dish but with my editor's tips. Then, I applied ideas that I previously learned on a similar dish with different flavors.

As the final day comes nearer, the tensions in my brain relax more. Writing 5 days a week for 6 weeks is an experience that can feel like banging your head against a wall. Some dishes I create make my brain feel strained like a dried raisin and hesitant with each action. Some dishes I finish, make my heart feel warmer and increase my willingness to put parts of myself in my dishes. I cut and burn myself, but I will patch them up and return to the kitchen.


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