Every time I reflect on how my workshops or tutorials have gone, every time I think back on a meaningful conversation I have had with my colleagues, I write in my head, I just never put these thoughts onto paper.
My head could run 1,000,000 miles an hour just thinking what could have and what should have and indeed what can be next time (especially when I am in the shower!), imagine if I have the ability to just put all these thoughts onto paper in real time? How much reflection / references I could have? Well, I kind of do… on bits of post-in notes and random bits of paper and IN MY HEAD that I will undoubtedly lose… Oh and those bits of random notes on my phone that usually will make no sense within a matter of days.
There seems to be a physical block preventing me from actually writing constructively and coherently with things that matter, this is why when I was asked to take part in this PgCert unit to learn how to write Academic paper, I jumped onto the opportunity with no hesitation.
Right away, the first session pointed out a couple of ‘flaws’ in my writing habit when I write whilst wearing the academic writing hat. Make no mistake, I am fully aware of the slight language barrier I still have but that has never stopped me from writing quantity – I am very active with various online forums often posting comments on things that I care about like cycling and cats and certain HE issues. Although I have learnt to be very careful what I say and where I say it as I have been spotted by my own students before… online anonymity? My arse!
However, when I write formally, or writing with my academic hat on, I seem to willingly bring out said language barrier; I become overly critical on what I write whilst I write, correcting the slightest mistakes others might or might not even notice, so the Six Minute Dump exercise we did was actually very useful, it was like writing my usual rants / comments that I post online, that are often very constructive and usually well received, after all I have my street cred to maintain! But here goes another barrier – I hate reading my own writing!! It’s fine if I have to read because I have to edit, but if I have to read my own reading because I want to know what I was thinking last week or last month or 3 months ago that was so important that I decided to write it down somewhere, hell no, it makes me feel sick. So I have high hope for myself from this unit, I want to be confronted by my own writings in whatever forms and shapes.
I guess today’s session really reminds me that I ought to just write and forget about the elegance of my writing until later. I ought to stop writing and editing at once, which is what I do A LOT! The invisible pressure I put on myself when I am writing something that is remotely formal and that there might be an audience waiting is what makes me have the urge to write and edit at the same time. The reality is, however, I have never had to show anyone my early drafts so by that logic, I should just write and not worry about looking stupid.