In Defense of “Said”

When you’ve expressed interest in writing, especially on Pinterest, you get a lot of suggestions for writing in your feed—writing prompts, tips and tricks for overcoming writer’s block, and do’s and don’t’s. Writing prompts are fun (a friend of mine semi-recently wrote a blog post about How to Use a Story Prompt, which I think is important information, though I never had that misconception myself), and tips and tricks can be useful depending on who you are, but the do’s and don’t’s?

Poppycock.

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The Paper Writing Method: Grad School Edition

You begin the semester by receiving multiple syllabi, like you’ve done every year. You look through each syllabus, and mark the date on which the BIG paper is due.

Determined to be diligent and get that sucker started early, you make plans to do a little bit of it at a time, every weekend until it’s due.

The first Saturday, you sit down and do a little bit of profitable research. Congratulating yourself at concurring years of ingrained procrastination habits, you decide that that’s enough info for now. You’ll just let what you’ve learned percolate until next week.

Next week roles around and, since you were so diligent last week, and since you have three tests (one in each class) and a couple of essays to write, and papers to grade, you decide that that BIG paper can wait until next week, when you’re not as busy.

Suddenly, you realize that that paper is due within the next two weeks. You resolve to finish it this week, so you have all of the next week to carefully revise and make corrections.

A week passes and you haven’t accomplished anything. Namely because you only just realized that you had no idea how to write that paper to begin with. But no biggie, right? You’ll think of something!

All of your good intentions left in the dust, it is the night before that paper is due, something is drastically wrong with your paper and you can’t figure out what, and you sit on your computer, blogging instead of writing a paper. Because you’re hoping that blogging will unleash your full potential as a writer and allow you to fix whatever is drastically wrong with that paper.

Wish me luck!

English Paper Woes

As an English MA, reading, writing, and conveying information about English has sort of become my life. Reading and writing have almost always been my life, but now, it’s like I eat, sleep, and breath English. Which is wonderful and useful and I enjoy every second of it and would do it all again (I actually wish that I could go back to my freshman year and do it over again, knowing what I know now and appreciating it the way I do now; I’m not a masochist, but I do love school). But since I’ve started this blog, I’ve noticed something interesting.

I can write 100 words on a blog post in less than 5 minutes. But trying to write a paper about the differences between American and British grammars? It’s like pulling eye-teeth for 10 words, let alone 100. What’s the difference between writing here and writing there? And why is it that when I’m writing on a blog, my words just naturally flow out, while on the paper, they seem stiff and stilted and.. impersonal?

Maybe if I were to write my paper on the blog, and then rearranged it, and reworded it a little, and then put it in paper format, I would have this in a cinch? Or else I could accidentally shoot myself in the foot. After all, who would go to a blog to read about plural attributive nouns, do-periphrasis, the past participles of get, and using one as a referent to one? There are more, but the paper isn’t meant to be exhaustive.

See what I mean? I’m at 265 now, and it’s been less than 10 minutes since I started!