Taking credit

I don’t write my name on my schoolwork anymore, apparently. It wasn’t a conscious choice, I don’t think.

In high school, I always marveled at the students who consistently ignored the “Name: _________” line on every single sheet of paper we were handed. People would turn in assignments without names on the daily, and those sheets of paper would sit on a desk at the back of the classroom the next day with a sticky note, “whose is this?” or tacked up on the bulletin board of no-namers. I was so ashamed when I lapsed, about once a year, and my papers ended up on there. Usually, however, my teachers knew my handwriting since it was distinctive and there were only so many students it could have been.

But now I turn in poems and drafts of memoirs without my name on them. When we pass out our work on workshopping days I have to say, “Oh, yeah, mine’s the one without a name on it.”

What have I become?

Delinquent, that’s it.

A couple of my friends still have the name-writing habit so engrained in them that they write their names at the top of their notes for each day, in their own notebook. I have a friend who writes her name on every single piece of paper our professor gives us. It doesn’t hurt that she has beautiful penmanship, but it’s unnecessary.

I know this neglect stems from the writer paralysis I experience when I see a Word document with name, professor, class, and date typed, left-aligned at the top. All of a sudden, all words leave my brain, and I can only write banal, robotic words. This will not do for a creative writing major.

It also won’t do for a writer at all if I can’t manage to put my name on my work. What will a publisher do if I submit my work with no name? They don’t know me from Eve, and handwriting won’t be helpful.

All this to say that I need to remember to claim my work. This is more of a reminder for me than you, but if you have this problem, take heed!

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