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Archive for December, 2011

It’s a steady push to the end folks. I’m clawin’, scratchin’ and most of all prayin’ to get to the end of this semester, which officially ends tomorrow night. I still have some big assignments on the table, and challenge is daunting. After going all semester it’s important to have enough gas at the end to power through the finish line.

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I’ve been meaning to pen a post about how real in the field it is right now but…well…it’s real in the field! (For those who don’t get the hip-hop lexicon, I’m saying that things are very hectic right now)

I’m a TA for Trial Round of Policy Analysis and the groups presented this week. I’m so proud of both of my groups. They worked very hard and really dug into their issues. I’m blessed to be a TA and I’m grateful for this experience.

That being said, I have my own presentations and papers to get done. The clock is ticking on the final days of the semester and I’m not trying to take a knee or punt.

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Pulling Words

I like to write. I do. I really do. But for some reason it’s hard to write. It is. It really is.

Well, sometimes.

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?

Wrong.

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.

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