Morning Pages are the 3 page journaling requirement in The Artists Way to help free up artistic blockages. There’s also a website called 750 Words where users can do an online approximation (and the application keeps track of the word count and how often you complete–nifty!). I find I’m in need of a little something more when it comes to my writing these days.
I suck at journal writing, in the sense that I usually only journal when I’m really upset and need to get some stuff out of my system in a way that won’t hurt anyone. It’s a great tool for that, but never really seems to help me with school stuff.
School is hard these days. For good reasons (covering new material in far more depth and speed than in my masters degree) and not so good (feeling vulnerable to the negative opinions of others, financial pressure to get through it in the next couple of years). Fielding is hard in some special ways; we can design our own classes to a certain extent, so if one ends up not working, we have to hold ourselves accountable (even if “we” are a second year student who may not yet know what she doesn’t know).
One thing I’ve struggled with is processing so much information and spitting back out as original thought written in scholarly form. The 50% of me that is extroverted needs to talk about stuff. I need to talk through my ideas with other people who are studying something similar. I make connections and have all my little ahahs when I’m talking. I miss the classroom! <—Nerd So, sometimes when I write for school it sounds a little more like conversation, and a little less like a peer-reviewed journal. I’ve published in those journals, but not while I’m still trying to process and understand the literature. I’m missing the middle two steps, which are talking about it with my peers and professor in a classroom setting, and writing reflectively and getting feedback on my thinking process as much as the format of my writing.
So, I’ve decided that my blog is a really good way to conversate (and make up words!) about my ideas. Regularly. Daily.
The last thing I posted was an essay I wrote for two classes I have been taking. I got reamed for not writing it like a journal article. Truly, I wrote it more like a well punctuated blog post, because that’s how I think through my ideas and make connections between sources. I tend to get feedback that I write more like a journalist (Which is a bad thing why? Clear and persuasive is good, right?). The reality, however, is that I have to learn to write like somebody with a PhD. So I’m trying an experiment where I get my ideas out on digital paper here, on my blog, where hopefully some people might want to converse with me about them, and then use my fully expressed (and hopefully somewhat vetted) ideas as the building blocks for the kind of writing I need to do to get through school.
Since I’m trying to do this every day, I’ll probably try to apply theory I’ve learned with my own thoughts to stuff like current events and popular media/art. I actually suggested this as part of a self-guided class, but it got shot down. So what! I know how I think, I know how I learn, and I know how I write. I’m tired of sitting down to write a paper and spending most of the time dreading how it will be received, or feeling incompetent and self-conscious. I have writing constipation. I know I’m a good thinker and a good writer; I just need some additional help to get from new material all the way to
dry convoluted scholarly writing.
So, I’m hoping to write on this here blog seven days a week, though what with the 4-year-old I might give myself a pass on the weekends.
I hope you enjoy my new found zeal for blogging. You can look forward to me talking about heavy subjects like the re-interpretation of the hero archetype in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, why people love zombies, and how mommy bloggers are changing the world. These are my Morning Pages. Stay tuned.