It Takes Courage to Write From the Heart

Note saying "Thank you!"

Learning a new language as an adult is hard. It not only takes hard work, it takes courage. You have to be willing to make mistakes, a lot of them. You are going to say and write things wrong, and you have to be willing to look foolish in order to improve.

We recently heard from one such hard-working, brave student, Yvens. He had never studied English before coming to the United States from Haiti. Not knowing English was a big obstacle. When he started at The Immigrant Learning Center, he was struggling to find work. As his English improved, he found a job, earned a promotion and entered an academic program designed to help him transition to college. He’s now working toward a nursing degree.

Research shows that when immigrants and refugees learn English, their employment and wages increases. More than economic and academic success, learning English allows immigrants like Yvens to share their unique perspectives with other English-speakers, and we all benefit. The following essay is a perfect example. Yvens shared it with us to inspire other students like himself.

Writing with My Heart is Better Than Writing with My Brain.

Former The ILC student, Yvens, writes about writing in his new language, English.

It was a Monday morning, and I had my first writing class. Although the classroom was big, I sat in a small corner right next to the board because, at the time, all my classmates were strangers to me. That morning, my Professor came a bit late. I still remember his face with sweat all over, wearing a red shirt with a small backpack on his back. He reminded me of my brother when he is going to school. As he was approaching the teacher’s desk, he started to apologize for being late. In that little corner where I leaned on my desk, I was thinking of the reason why would he apologize for it? “He is the Professor, “I said to myself. “Doesn’t he have the right to be late? ” After a few seconds I realized why I was thinking that? I was impatient. I wanted him to start teaching so I could see what he had for us. When he finally started, he wrote ” WRITING” on the board and said, ” As many of you may have thought before, writing is not a thing, it is a process.” To this day I have the sound of his voice, and the gestures he made with his hands in my mind. That phrase has since then made me believe that using my heart when I’m writing is way better than using my brain.

I asked myself one question to see how true this statement is. I said,” why do writers follow the same rules, but each have their own style? How come they sound different”? I’m a horrible writer. You can see that as you are reading this paragraph; however, I love reading. I read lots of books, but they all have something different. It is not about grammar, the structure of the sentences, or the style per se. It is about an ingredient that the author puts in the writing that makes it natural and unique. That ingredient comes from the heart not the brain. When you write with your heart, you spend time reading and rereading your thoughts. You become passionate about it. You naturally have the patience to polish it. Artists, musicians, and poets have to love their work because it takes them time to design or create a great piece of art. It takes Stevie Wonder time to write a great song. It takes Maya Angelou time to write a great poem. However, they have all become great writers because they write with their hearts.

Another reason why I believe writing with your heart is better, with your heart, you cannot be wrong. You can misspell words, or not respect grammatical rules. Sometimes, you can even sound incoherent, but still, if it is coming from your heart that means it is true. I never realized that until I failed one of my essays last semester. My final test was to write a persuasive essay on abortion. I spent a lot of time researching; I read more than five articles on the subject. In other words, I had enough facts to even convince Congress to pass a bill against abortion. But one thing was missing: I failed to put my input in the writing therefore, the professor didn’t feel convinced enough to give me a good grade. I believe that my essay was well written, but it was not natural. It was not unique. I was focusing too much on getting a high grade instead of analyzing the issue from my perspective.

My brain, as the organ of intelligence, plays a significant role in the writing process. How would I be able to write these few paragraphs without using it? How would I process my thoughts? I would be wrong to think that I only use my heart in the writing process. I use my brain to structure the writing process, to make writing looks and sounds intelligent. But remember, as I mentioned before, great writers develop a great relationship of love with their work. This love for their writing would have never been possible if they didn’t put their heart in it. Oprah Winfrey is not known as a writer, but I still see the need to use her as an example for always saying,” If you do it with your heart, you will be successful.” And that is exactly why she is so successful in life.

I wrote this piece without thinking whether I can be wrong or not. To be honest, I’m not even trying to convince anyone anything except for this one, of course. I’m just sharing my thoughts on how simple the process of writing can be if teachers, professors, educators, or even parents make our children believe that the process of writing is simple. They just need to have something to say; whether it is wrong or right, whether the rules are respected or not, it doesn’t matter. What matters the most is just say it with your HEART.”

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