rough notes

Reading, writing, and responding

with one comment

Regular readers will have noticed that the number of posts on derivative have dropped considerably in the past six weeks. This was an unfortunate, yet necessary consequence of the return to school – this time around in a graduate programme. Time and and effort was shifted from the digital tablet back to the books. This blog may yet see a renaissance, however, due to the unintended effects of graduate-level writing demands on the act of writing itself.

There is something incredibly interesting (if not ironic, in a definitely Alanis Morrisette sense of the word) about graduate work in the humanities. After reading and writing at a consistent rate for four years or more at the undergraduate level, one enters a graduate programme where the regular small written assignment is eclipsed by the large end of term project. The amount of reading increases, as does the amount of writing. But whereas students would write small papers often during the BA, they must now hold on to much of their written effort for one term paper.

One certain consequence in the change of output is the actual task (if not grind) of writing itself. No longer do I, for example (and this is my blog, so I may rightfully ‘exemplify’ myself), submit a paper every week in a class. Now, I submit two short papers of 8-10 pages in the term, and one 20-page paper
at the end of the session. This past weekend – six weeks into the programme – was the first time I had to write anything substantial for a class. I found myself slow off the mark, and a little “rough around the edges” once it came time to commit my thoughts and opinions into formal, sustained arguments. The first three or four pages I produced were awful and had to be reformulated several times before they came anywhere close to being submission-worthy; I am still disappointed with the total effort produced.

The only way to resolve this issue is to write – to produce – more work, more often. The quality and quantity of thoughts rendered into written argument must be returned to the levels I was accustomed to at the undergraduate level. As such, derivative may see less argumentation on culture and more on literature in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

you are commodified.


Written by mitchellirons

October 10, 2007 at 2:18 pm

Posted in academics, dal, derivative, ma, school

Tagged with , ,

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