Yes, I failed English 101. And I remember when it happened, I felt like I had been wrong about myself. I felt like the little voice inside was nothing but a liar, a ridiculously naive sub-conscious destined to lead me into a life of disappointment because I was obviously meant to be a teacher, which is what I changed my major to after failing English. But someone gave me a journal as a gift, and written along the bottom of each page were quotes from famous writers. I remember one saying, “All great writers fail English 101.” That quote alone made me change my major back.
This quote (below), by Ray Bradbury I just found last night. It’s along the same lines, but Mr. Bradbury, (whom I’ve seen speak and let me tell you, dude goes hard) goes even further. For all my college writers:
You can’t learn to write in college. It’s a very bad place for writers because the teachers always think they know more than you do—and they don’t. They have prejudices. They may like Henry James, but what if you don’t want to write like Henry James? They may like John Irving, for instance, who’s the bore of all time. A lot of the people whose work they’ve taught in the schools for the last thirty years, I can’t understand why people read them and why they are taught. – Ray Bradbury
Professors teach you to write like them, not to write like you. Don’t EVER forget that.