Saturday, March 03, 2007

Pink cupcakes do not make you a better writer

So Im looking over the research proposal I've been working on for a hundred years and finally turned in a week or so ago (oh no I can't go back. That part is done.) and I see all these really awful mistakes and just some really bad writing. Im just wondering how does one learn to write better?
I mean, I know there were some good parts and hey its not supposed to be some great work of "Literature" with a capital 'L' but do you know how many times I rewrote that thing? What does one do to transform their work from mediocre to: this is what I really want to say, the ideas are all clearly connected, here's what other people think and what I think about their thoughts, but here is where my arguments are developed, here is something insightful, and I want to use pretty words...is that too much to ask of myself? I'm feeling like I have to relearn to write and I have to get over the anxiety of showing my writing to someone who will give me some constructive feedback.

I'm sure some of becoming a better writer also has to do with focusing on being an "academic" writer a little more than being a documentary producer/technological storyteller...but I want to do both. Oh and I want to continue to be a poet and performer. And oh yeah I have to develop some money making career at some point. Can't I just reconcile it all? And soon? I am slated to present on a panel called "Rethinking the Central American Left in the Era of Globalization" at LASA in Montreal in the Fall.. (it'd be nice if I could write well and get the funds to go) I mean I'm a good presenter but I would like to write a paper that could be submitted at least to the conference publication. I even had an opportunity to submit it as part of a central american american reader but its probably too late by now.
Are there books I should read? Should I quit complaining and keep writing? Should I find a 'Mento' and be someones 'Manatee' (mentee)? Did anyone see 30 Rock with "Oprah" at the source awards? Maybe a little of all of the above put it in a blender, add some pink cupcakes, a dictionary, some academic journals and its a wrap.

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

hmmm good question. After reading the papers of some of my peers here I feel the same way. Just very humbling to see the stuff they come up with. One thing that helps me is that I keep a list of clever ways to describe the topics I write about or even just lists of words that sound scholarly :) I keep that list open when I write to help me get past writer's block and find the words I'm looking for.