I have been writing more often for about two and a half years now, for this blog and for my studies. This block I’ve got Language Acquisition in my program, as well as Creative Writing. The latter is a lot of fun and I feel and think that the course content is expanding my boundaries. Assignments for CW up until now include literary imitation of a text, dialogue and point of view.
The assignments are a welcome change of scene after blogging about productivity and lifestyle for a while. The assignments come with peer feedback, which means that I have to give feedback on the work of others and get feedback on work of my own. This means I have to spend more time interpreting work with little context and reflecting on my own work, as well as on the feedback that I’m giving to others.
This is in contrast to blogging, where I can just let my fingers do the talking and shout whatever I’m thinking, feeling or doing at the moment – because there is little to no barrier before publication. People seem to be reading but rarely respond, so communication is kind of one-sided. It can be very expressive though, and it’s good to read back what has kept me busy in the past. In that sense, it’s very much like a published diary.
In this essay I will explore the contrast between writing for study and blogging for expression.
When I started this blog, I had the idea to make a business out of it. I followed a course (Ramit Sethi’s Zero To Launch) about building an online business and loosely implemented it. The core idea of the business would be to help people in some way and supplement it with selling art.
By writing self-help posts mixed with personal blogs, I have digressed from my original goal. I don’t beat myself up over it. I see this blog as a place to grow, which I deem the most important. If I help others in the process, that’s a bonus. The idea behind this digression is that if I specialize too early I might build something based on a foundation that is not very solid, read: topics that do not get me out of bed. I am still a student; this is the perfect time to explore and learn new things.
I write blogs mainly to:
- Stay accountable with implementing new habits, to myself and to others;
- Share thoughts, dreams, failures and successes.
I know from the statistics that people view this blog, which is motivation to have something positive to write. This means I need to do things that I deem positive so I can write about them. Writing for an audience comes with responsibility: You have to put your best foot forward and think about what you want to share. With regards to this, I have gotten some questions about being too open, but I don’t have any problems with it. I’d rather express too much than too little – that way a) you can see the growth process and b) it’s a pretty accurate reflection of what’s on my mind anyway. I don’t want to omit important things just to come across cooler, more mysterious or to keep you guessing. If you think writing about some things is inappropriate, that’s on you.
Having said that, of course there is somewhat of a filter. When it comes to expression, there most often is. I find unfiltered people annoying and strive to not become one. If I have a filter, which I think I have, I choose to share possibly inappropriate things. Why? To get out of my comfort zone? Possibly. I also think it’s loads of fun to write about the topics that I write about. Money, not masturbating, sex dreams, dreams on weed, not drinking, not smoking weed; they’re all things that keep my mind occupied. In this sense I share what’s on my mind, I give you a preview of what I think about most days. This is expression – even though there remains a lot to be written about. In the future? In my notebook, not intended for publication?
I like writing for my studies, as long as it’s not on linguistics. When I have to think about every word that I use because every word has it’s own nuanced meaning, when I have to disassemble a text and have to spin arguments in just a way that they support what I think or think I think, when I am allowed enough freedom to write on topics of interest to me… I thoroughly enjoy it.
The assignments I get assigned are almost always a challenge. They force me to look at issues from a historical, sociological, philosophical, theological, linguistic and/or literary perspective. This way, writing for these assignments help me get the best out of me. It’s often more argumentative than it is reflective of my own life and habits – but I often check my arguments with a magnifying glass, as I should. This is intellectual exercise, and I’m not even at PhD level. It takes me back to my childhood, when I learned to read – great fun and as with these assignments, it helped me explore the world mentally.
You can travel around the world – to each his/her own – but an alternative is to delve inside the depths of your own mind and those of others. A great deal of fantastic mental work has been done by those before you, which is yours to build upon. Open up a book and pick up a pen. Masturbate your brain.
Curiously, my paper on free will in Milton’s Paradise Lost is one of the most viewed posts on this site, which is a signal to me that my work is being appreciated. I’d like to know in which context. Are fellow students reading it? High school students who have to read Milton as obligatory reading? University students that I know? It’s also one of the signs that I should write more in-depth argumentative pieces with a primary text as a source; I enjoy doing them and apparently people want to read them.
That’s it. Until the next time.