I am excited to share with you my findings this week on Latin and Greek roots, Big Magic, and using the human voice in our writing.
So many people ask themselves whether it is worth it to learn Latin.
It is hard for me to say the truth as a Latin teacher, but…no, it is not always…
We don’t all need chemistry (I never learned it) nor do we equally all need Latin.
That said, the Latin language offers immense value.
I recently had a student ask me to help her learn Latin.
After talking with her, I quickly realized that she did not need to learn the language.
Tables of verbs and vocabulary lists were not going to get her any closer to her goals.
What do you do then?
You want the benefits of Latin, but you don’t need the language.
The answer is roots!
I am teaching her Latin (and Greek) roots systematically.
Through learning roots, young students’ English vocabulary will double!
70% of English words come from Latin and Greek.
“Hydr” is the Greek root for water. We have words in English that come from this: hydrophobia, hydraulic, hydrogen, hydroponics, hydrodynamics, hydrometer, hydrant.
Now, you cannot take the Latin out of the Latin teacher.
So, I am certainly adding in some information about how Latin works and what makes it special.
Without any memorization, the awareness of how this unique language works is beneficial enough for most students.
If you are debating learning Latin, consider roots.
Also, if you would like to learn roots with me, book a free mini-lesson today!
2. Big MagicBig Magic sits you down with a cup of tea and talks with you about creativity — fear, trust, courage, and stamina. Click To Tweet
I am on such a big reading kick right now!
It excites me to share my discoveries with you all.
I read this book called Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert.
I would definitely suggest this for a senior in High School and above.
This book sits you down with a cup of tea and talks with you about creativity — fear, trust, courage, and stamina.
So many lessons to be learned within the pages of this book!
How can I restrict myself.
Let me try here.
a. Setting the right goals.
Gilbert actually made “writing vows” when she was 16 years old.
They were sacred to her, at least.
These vows were very well formed.
Gilbert was clear and concise.
She would dedicate herself to writing, but writing would not financially support her.
Writing was the goal.
Not success and not wealth.
When we come to our task, we want it to reward us.
“If I do this, then something good will happen.”
In actuality, the task itself is its own reward.
At this point very few people read my blog, but that is ok.
I write to help people and not to gain views.
b. The process is the reward.The writing process is the magic and the joy. Click To Tweet
Gilbert talks about a short story she wrote.
A magazine accepted it!
Then they told her to cut half of it due to size limitations.
Gilbert shortened the piece.
She took out the perfect analogies and the stunning transitions to create something that read completely differently, though still conveyed the same message.
She understood that the process was the benefit.
Her soul was not transformed by the finished product, but by the writing process.
Hammering out pieces and fighting to say things is how writers grow.
Big Magic shows that the process is the magic and the joy.
Success and appreciation are important, but they do not fill you.
The process is the true joy for the soul of a writer.
c. Create for yourself.Through writing for yourself, you actually lose your ego. Click To Tweet
At the heart of Gilbert’s message she writes that you need to create for yourself.
I do not mean this in a selfish way; in fact, it is a very selfless message indeed.
After all the success of Eat Pray Love, she struggled to write a new book.
She was trying to write a book for millions of people.
It is impossible.
Then she regrouped. Instead of writing the next best seller, she wrote a book for her 10 closest girlfriends.
The words flowed effortlessly.
In a podcast interview with Tim Ferriss, Jim Collins shared what Bill Allen taught him.
He said that we should not aim for success, but to be useful.
Through writing for yourself, you actually lose your ego.
3. Writing like a Google Search ResultIf we write just what anyone else can find through a simple search, then the writing is not meaningful or useful outside an academic setting. The beauty of writing is adding in the human touch. Click To Tweet
So often my young students write like a google search result.
By that I mean they write things that can be found in other places.
Their writing is very descriptive.
When done well and at the right time, this is wonderful and praiseworthy!
This week, though, I found the words to articulate what was missing in so many of these writings.
The human touch.
Google is very powerful.
However, if we write just what anyone else can find through a simple search, then the writing is not meaningful or useful outside an academic setting.
The beauty of writing is adding in the human touch.
We are able to infer and synthesize those facts we collect.
A computer can tell you how many people died because of smoking. Only a human, however, can tell you that you should stop smoking because it will prolong your life.
Inferences and synthesis aside, humans also provide the emotional touch.
Only humans can articulate how books connect with us emotionally.
Only people can put into words how it feels inside when you are put in front of a moving piece of art.
The human touch can best be seen in arguments.
By argument, I mean simply an opinion combined with reasons for it.
The thesis of an essay spurs on that human voice to rise above the waves of repeated information!The thesis of an essay spurs on that human voice to rise above the waves of repeated information! Click To Tweet
For my students, I like to highlight in a different color all the sentences that reflect their own voice.
It is always surprising to see how much is in black and how little is in green.
We tell the world’s stories and facts, but forget to add our own human touch.
Next time you write or read your child’s writing, remember to put it through the google search test. 😉
Until next week! Comment whether you have read Big Magic.
I have a passion for helping students, young and old, improve their writing and study skills. I am a tutor and proofreader.