Why Can’t America Teach Writing


I gulped as I took back the booklet with shaking hands. I put it in my fraying purple folder, where it sits unopened to this day. This wasn’t a booklet forced into your hands by an intimidating yet freakishly friendly man on the street—it was the final project for my high school senior year creative nonfiction class.

The booklet was relegated to collecting dust not because high school was ending (I couldn’t wait to be free of all responsibility), but because I had written about something I legitimately cared about: my journey through veganism. 

Only when I reflected on this, years later, I realized how absurd it was that I almost started college without ever writing about an actual passion of mine. Nowadays, writing my blog is one of my favorite things to do. What can explain the disparity? 

Subject Apathy

My fundamental rule for good writing is “have something to say.” Trying to drag something out of yourself just because you feel obligated to write about a topic is infinitely more challenging than writing when you know your “why”.

Unfortunately, the American writing education philosophy directly contradicts this with its singular focus on literature. No matter how much you think, “Kids these days don’t appreciate good writing like we did,” the bottom line is that the vast majority do not care an ounce about color symbolism in The Great Gatsby.