Thursday, March 31, 2011


Two posts in the same month! A new record!! No, really, I'm making an attempt to post more since this whole thing is supposed to be about me practicing my writing.

I used to be in an intensive reading/writing/researching grad program. For three years, I had lots of experience writing, though none of it even remotely became what anyone would consider "interesting reading." I think this is true of most academic writing. There's an unspoken rule that this style of writing must adhere to a rigid structure. Like, the introduction has to hit you right off the bat with the main "thesis statement," followed by a comprehensive literature review (boring!), and then a summary of what's coming in the future chapters. Repetitive much? Next comes the chapters, which then must follow their own micro intro-body-conclusion structures. And FINALLY you reach a conclusion that summarizes everything you've read, which most people actually need because the piece itself was so freaking boring that you had to have six cups of coffee and you're sitting there wondering why anyone cares about [insert boring, obscure topic here.] You admit to yourself that you sure as shit don't, but you've got to read this thing in order to get an "advanced" degree or satisfy some other kind of bureaucratic, soul-sucking requirement. Jesus, that is SO FREAKING BORING! Why do that??

Of course there are exceptions to this, so I don't mean to dump on ALL of academia. Just most of it. When started my degree, *I* was planning on being an exception. I was optimistic. But I quickly found out how much the system was stacked against original thought. It was a career changing realization.

So that's how I'm trained to write. Like an academic. Recently I've realized that if I want to get better at writing, I'm going to have to unlearn all of the stupid academic writing conventions, and then LEARN how to actually write! The whole thing is kind of daunting. I'm reading a book right now that discusses how much our "internal editor" holds us back. Yeah, mine's like a power hungry drill sergeant on steroids.

No comments:

Post a Comment