Academics often share that they feel like an impostor in a variety of situations: while speaking at a conference, delivering a lecture, introducing themselves as Professor ABC, etc. I often feel like this when I talk to my students about how to write well. I’m sure most (if not all) of it exists only in my imagination, but I can swear I see them think, “You even speak with an accent, so who are you to tell us how to write well?” (And then I get nervous, and my accent becomes stronger, and I feel even more like an impostor, and so on).
This is why I was so gratified to read the following comment on Jonathan’s blog:
Students often seem bland to me, because what they write is generic. They give me a standard view of things, not what they really think when that is stripped away. On the other hand, bloggers like Clarissa or Z always have something interesting to say because they are very much themselves. It doesn’t even matter whether I agree with any particular statement they make or whether I think their personal viewpoint is generalizable to any other human being on the planet. Who cares?
See? I do have the right to tell students a few things about how to write well.