Throughout the years of writing several papers there have been times I’m sure, when you were told to be weary of including the use of “I” too many times or at all in your paper. Many times, especially when it comes to research papers we are told one of the worst things we could do is include ourselves and our perspectives in our written work. Writing that forces you to avoid the use of self-reflection/perspective may hinder the author’s enthusiasm towards their work altogether. I argue that there are pros when it comes to including yourself in a piece you have written.
Chances are your writing beliefs were most likely developed in school by past teachers. Personally, I can attest that various teachers from my past taught and made me believe that too much self-inclusion could weaken the piece being written. Not including yourself or your voice in written work can cause the finished product to come out quite bland. The reason for this is that it just sounds too vague and impersonal. I’m sure much like myself plenty of people can argue that the best essays they have written are the ones where they talk about themselves or include certain aspects of themselves within it.
When you write about yourself or include aspects of yourself in your work, thoughts flow more effortlessly/naturally. When thoughts are able to flow naturally writers are typically able to come up with more content. Not just more content but content of better quality as well. Ever become stumbled when writing an essay? Writer’s block is a very real thing. Think about all the times you have experienced it writing papers throughout the years. Did you experience it more so when writing a paper geared towards research and facts? If so, it makes perfect sense because that is where we have been taught to avoid imputing ourselves in writing at all costs. One simply has a more difficult time writing because they’re not allowed to relate or formulate a connection with the work.
By including yourself in your writing it becomes more relatable. People gravitate towards things and enjoy reading things that resonate with them. Sometimes writing can provide the reader with a sense of comfort and belonging. While the author is proving their perspective, the reader has an opportunity to perhaps help validate their own feelings. It may not seem like there is much significance to this but it can help the reader understand that they’re not alone when it comes to a particular subject matter. Therefore, by the author referring back to themselves, the reader has an easier time putting themselves in the authors shoes for a moment creating a connection with it.
By including yourself you display personality. You wouldn’t want to engage in conversation with an individual who lacks personality; just like you wouldn’t want to read a writing prompt that lacks it either. Without a sense of personality in the writing there aren’t any emotions attached. Emotions and connections are what add flavor. Lack of flavor calls for a bland paper.
Not to mention, writing can be therapeutic. In many instances it’s a form of emotional release. As Anne Frank once said, “I can shake off everything as I write. My sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn”. Releasing one’s emotions on paper can help the author capture feelings that may have been lingering around inside for quite some time. When one releases their emotions within their writing, it becomes rawer and more vulnerable. Vulnerability helps promote and sell the authenticity of the work. This once again, ties back to emotions. The more vulnerable the author allows themselves to become, essentially opening their heart up to the reader; the reader learns to sympathize with the author.
The presence of self in one’s writing helps break down the topic so that the reader has an easier time understanding the concepts throughout. Removing one’s self can actually be counterproductive in regards to what we as writers are trying to profess. Rodrigo Joseph Rodriguez, an English professor at The University of Texas at El Paso explained how writers make concepts easier for readers by “ (1) writing sentences that establish who the writer is through the pronoun I, (2) revealing the purpose and interest for writing about the topic, (3) stating the argument that holds the content together in the first place, and (4) providing evidence and concepts for the argumentative position or exploratory topic”.
On a more personal note, by including yourself in your work it helps promote self-reflection. I believe that you can learn a great deal about yourself through writing. Writing forces, you to stop and actually think about a subject matter in great detail. It’s almost a way to learn how to be truthful with yourself. A paper that is forced probably isn’t a convincing one. Which goes hand in hand with not being truthful to yourself. Something you don’t truly feel within your heart will be reflected in your work. That is why if you relate to yourself it goes back to not only being real with the reader but also yourself.