Words of Wisdom:

"Poor the student who cannot surpass his teacher." - Zerosampson

Reflective Paragraph on the Watcher at the Gates by Gail Godwin

  • Date Submitted: 03/13/2010 04:47 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 59.7 
  • Words: 361
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When I was younger, I used to spend countless hours writing letters to friends, journaling or writing short stories. Writing was something I genuinely enjoyed doing and it seemed I was always coming up with more and more excuses to write. I was this way up until the last couple years of high school, when writing became more of a dreaded chore--that I put off until the last possible moment--than something I enjoyed and looked forward to doing. In Gail Godwin's "The Watcher at the Gates", she addresses a common problem among writers--the "inner critic". This inner critic is what she refers to as the "Watcher," whose main goal is "rejecting too soon and discriminating too severely," along with trying to "keep you from pursuing the flow of your imagination." This description that she gives the Watcher describes almost exactly what I struggle with every time I sit down to write. I find myself most times being held back from writing down what I'm really thinking--too afraid that it will be worded wrong and therefore be useless--or just drawing an absolute blank and not letting my mind actually go places it would like to.
Godwin gives some good suggestions for defeating this Watcher though, a few of them being "writing too fast for him," "writing when very tired," and "writing whatever comes to your mind while the kettle is boiling and make the steam whistle your deadline." She also recommends getting to know your own Watcher so that you can come up with ways to outsmart (or to get along with) him. What her essay makes me wonder is maybe writing is not as hard as I might think. Maybe it's just this inner critic, this Watcher, that keeps holding me back from enjoying writing as much as I once did. And maybe outsmarting him is easier than what it seems. Inspired by Godwin's opinion, I've decided to start writing more for enjoyment and hopefully silence the Watcher's voice more so that I can once again enjoy writing and not be as intimidated by it as I have been.


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