Write at a stand-still

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Through every assigned reading this far in the course (EL336), we have been poking and proding at the differences between writing and communicating orally. Because their structure is entirely different, we are fairly confident that they are not the same thing. Benefits and negatives are another debate. What we haven't focused on is the similarities between the two and the processes that filter through our minds when we use them.

"Thus writing for most people is dominated by the experience of not writing: of elaborate planning beforehand to decide what to write and frequent pausing in midcourse to search for the right word or the right path" (Elbow 139).

This first quote. As I read it, I could just picture myself, sitting and staring at the blinking cursor on my Microsoft Word document. It's a very common occurrance for me and the image is easily illustrated in my mind. I sit there and wait for the perfect sentence to come to mind. I edit it in my head before I actually type it out. Because...that's what you do with a conversation right? A paper is communicating to someone about a certain topic or subject and you want the words to flow fluently and logically so the audience understands.

"We think of the mind's natural capacity for chaos and disorganization as the problem in writing" (140).

Our mentality to is to project a voice that is edited and perfect...even on paper. We believe that disorganization in writing has the same effect as it does with communcating orally. In fact it does have the same negative effect...if it is not edited as a final. With writing, we have the opportunity to correct a bad-sounding sentence or phrase, but with conversation, there is only so much time to think....and ponder.....and um....and uh...and well......decide what is coming next before your audience decides to walk away with a possible inner-debate of your insanity.

I have sat for 9 hours attempting to write what journalism and English majors would call a "simple, five-page paper," all because I write sentence for sentence as perfect as I can. I know that is the problem, but it is not easy to disregard, considering that tactic is used multiple times a day in oral conversation. It's difficult to ween yourself away from something that you do several times a day and in different forms.

In Elbow's conclusion, he illustrated an image of a writer,
"She is intensely self-critical, she tried to see every potential flaw, even the flaws that some unknown furure reader might find who is reading in an entirely different context from that of her present audience" (151).
This is the first phase he sees her in and secondly she begins to write furiously, incapable to catch up to her own thoughts and involved in her moment of flowing ideas. Lastly, she succeeds in her writing and has the ability to inspire her readers and has ultimately found her focus....but not on the perfection of words....on the perfection of her message.

I found Elbow's conclusion to be inspiring and as a little bit of hope that perhaps one day I won't spend all that time attempting to write perfect sentences straight away. Unfortunately, my furious, inspiration writing appears very infrequently and only for a few seconds at a time. Not long enough to build much from those moments. With the recognition that writing perfection does not have to come instantly may be the key to all the more, better communication.


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This page contains a single entry by TiffanyGilbert published on March 2, 2010 8:54 PM.

Portfolio 1-Topics in Media & Culture was the previous entry in this blog.

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