Manifesto Fail!

Hmm, so much for declaring war on my rampant procrastination. Poor show all round from me. I need to do more in the way of generative writing and understand that posting to a blog is not the same as handing up an essay or a dissertation. Its okay to have a work in progress, to show your thought process, even in its confused and blurred around the edges raw state. Unlike an essay, a blog doesn’t have the same finality of the full stop. It is free to continue a life below the lines and perhaps be reborn in further iterations, hopefully having first been fleshed out, challenged and hammered down by the wisdom of the blogging crowd.

A huge problem for me in putting up short, thinking out loud musings or my first graspings of a difficult theory for possible public scrutiny is it is so counter-intuitive for someone trained to write and develop arguments in Arts and Humanities scholarship. In both our own writing and the critiquing of others, we are heavily indoctrinated with the idea that a poorly backed up or ill-researched argument is the cardinal sin of academic writing. We search for badly thought out arguments to dissect and fear the same razor slashing through our own efforts. It can feel oddly personal when weaknesses in your argument or obvious holes in your research are laid bare but it is in and of itself all part of the learning process. We all cringe at our undergrad essays but they are still evidence of a mind at work and moving continually towards improvement. After all, otherwise we could all graduate after first year!

It may not work out for me but for now I am going to try to take the advice of this great article and try to take a leaf out of our science buddies’ professional looking folder and try to fail better*.

*To prove my commitment, I am posting this at eleven o’clock at night, first draft, not even sleeping on it. Eek!

3 Responses to Manifesto Fail!

  1. ammaci says:

    Had a long comment written here and lost it. So quickly.. great post, love your style of writing. Can relate 100% except that I don’t have an Arts and Humanities background and I’m not sure if I’m committing that ‘cardinal sin’ on a regular basis. Note to self: ask for feedback. Well done for releasing this from the clutches of your mind when you did, it takes courage. Appreciate your honesty as well. Keep ’em comin!

  2. Thanks for the feedback ammaci!

  3. Jess says:

    Nice post!

    Yes, it is an adjustment, to work in this way which allows the process to be witnessed by others. It’s not easy to bare the sometimes hare-footed and other times snail-like operations of the brain – at least in my case. Occasionally flashes of insight in a bright cathedral, other times just a dark 1980’s bedsit full of the week’s cooking smells.

    For writing as an extreme sport see Michelle Moravec’s Writing in Public – http://michellemoravec.com/michelle-moravec/
    She is an associate professor of history and has an interesting CV.

    She says: ” I draft all my work in open, editable shared documents on Google drive.”
    Wow.

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