June 28, 2011
Of late, I’ve been doing the assignments for this class backwards. Maybe it’s because it’s summer semester and I’m pressed for time, or maybe it’s because the blogs are due the day after the responses and not the day before. But to be completely honest, I’ve been writing my responses and then breaking them down into blog posts. Actually, on Sunday I wrote the body of my final paper, and then I broke it down into response #3 and blogs 12-14.
I find that once I start to write, I like to get it all out in one sitting. I might then go back and revise, but once I start writing and thinking through an idea, I like to keep going with it. So in some ways it’s easier for me to sit down and write the paper all at once.
But that isn’t to say that I don’t like the way we worked on writing this semester. Breaking everything down into blog posts and responses definitely made the final paper less daunting. And I think writing is like a muscle– you improve if you work on it every day, but you strain yourself if you do all the exercise for the month on one day (the way I normally like to work).
I also think the concept of throw-away writing is important; that you can write something and you may or may not be able to use it. I always find it frustrating when I write something that doesn’t end up being graded or seems to gain me no practical, tangible, immediate benefit. But again, writing is a muscle. So every time you use it, you stretch it. I wouldn’t perform a plie combination at barre in front of an audience, but I do it in every ballet class because I know it will make me stronger so that I can perform better when I am onstage. So too, it’s important to practice writing that won’t be published or submitted for a grade, so that when it does count, your writing will be that much stronger.
Don’t get me wrong; I still don’t like writing. And I probably never will. I find it frustrating that every English class requires me to practice paper-writing, because I already know how to do it well enough for my purposes, and then I just have to do a lot of busywork to get an A on a paper that nobody reads anyway, except the professor, and then only because he has to. Creative writing is better, and business writing is actually useful, but writing literary analysis papers feels so pointless. I really don’t mean to be whining or complaining. I’m just trying to understand why we spend so much of our time as English majors working on writing papers that nobody sees or cares about.