I like to write. I do. I really do. But for some reason it’s hard to write. It is. It really is.
I’ve had several short writing assignments this semester. For some of them I’ve been able to knock out the writing within 2 hours or less. For others, it’s like I’m pulling words out of the paper. I’m working on a short writing assignment now, and I can’t seem to get the words on the page quickly. How long should it take to write 3 – 5 pages? In theory, that’s nothing. An afternoon jaunt. A mere postscript to the papers that extend into the double-digits. This is graduate school after all. A couple of pages should be as easy as walking into a parked car, right? Right?
At least wrong for me. Right now. What’s doubly frustrating is that I pretty much know what I want to say. I’ve done the reading, pulled out the quotes, done some critical thinking about it all. The only thing left to do is put it on the page. Yet I feel like I’m pulling words out of the page, tugging them onto screen.
Perhaps it’s the old stumbling block of wanting every word to be perfect, every letter a delectable morsel of prose that causes the reader to salivate from the first sentence. Yes, I want my writing to be good. I want the reader to enjoy the experience, not just see words on the page. I want my sentences to connect and flow and take the reader on the journey from beginning to end, leaving them with a desire for more.
Is that too much to ask for an academic paper? I don’t know any other way. I don’t want to know any other way.
I have found that sometimes just writing helps. By that I mean just typing out words even if it sounds like garbage. It helps get the juices flowing, and you can always go back and edit.
Ah, but the necessity of editing is evidence of imperfection. Of course there will always be typos, and maybe some light copy editing. But it can be painful to write a bunch of words for the sake of forward momentum, and then read them and recognize them for the artless blob that they are.
Thus, I find myself taking days to write just a few pages.
Since I do have those double-digit papers looming, I need to get these short ones out of the way. I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey.