Aims and apirations

13 Feb

I’m really not one to do writing. Writing has never been something I enjoyed, it was something to do because I had to. All the creative writing tasks I did at school was short and to the point, although occasionally I liked to mess around with the teacher and do a first person recount of a 14 year old about to be hanged. And by short and to the point, I mean there was no plot. Take “The Three Cats” (written when I was 5 or 6):

There once was three cats. One day the three cats went out for a run. They ran and ran and ran and ran. But the one of the three cats was caught in a net! So the three cats when to the owner of the three cats, but there are only two cats now. So they got a new cat.

See what I mean?

But now I’m realising in order to get this thesis written I need to learn to enjoy the writing process and not be so blunt with my conclusions. Sure, academic writing should  be concise and to the point but I think I do it to a point of leaving out crucial detail (so I suppose I’m not concise). I’m also not very good at creating a decent first draft (well I can do a good dot point outline, but the next step up from that). Then I spend ages revising, putting in the detail and then when I get back to reading it properly it has three different tenses in one sentence.

So really what I hope to achieve from this is:

  • Be able to write easily. Given a smallish writing task, I want to be able to sit down, perhaps create a brief dot point outline to get my thoughts in order (although for small tasks I think I should be able to skip this step) and just write it up. By write it up, I mean not having dot points 4 layer deeps, I mean just write in full sentences and paragraphs. And write it up to the point where I just need to read through it and check for typos, misplaced homonyms and to be sure I covered all the points. Not needing to do multiple revisions.
  • Be able to write engagingly. Be able to write so that there is a point to it. I don’t want to have a glorified twitter feed full of posts saying “went to gym lolz”. Well even if there is a serious point to it, there should be some substance and take away message.
  • Be able to enjoy writing. I’m sort of hoping that I will end up going “Excellent, I got this good idea, lets write it up!”. Last year I was working towards giving better talks and now while I still get nervous immediately before talks, preparing them and in the weeks leading up I get excited about sharing my ideas.
  • Have better spelling and grammar. This joins up with the first point (less revisions), but as it is so bad currently that it deserves its own point. Also, have to be careful about this and not reinforce bad habbits
  • Write quickly. I only want to spend about 20-30 minutes on this. Mostly because I have other writing and work to get done. As it is I’ve already spend 30 minutes on this post.

How do I feel this blog will help me do this?

  • Writing without constraints. My thesis writing is all about certain topics and it can be tiring writing about the same thing all the time. I want to write here about anything, just as long as I’m writing.
  • Not so high pressure. My thesis and papers are going to be read by real live other people. Not that Internet people aren’t real live people, but I won’t run into them in the corridors.
  • Practice. I just need more writing practice with just that little bit of pressure to get it done.

So that is way too much time, spent on this. Today I have a thesis to write, linux to set up and underwater hockey.


Point of this post: to actually get sorted in my mind what I’m doing here.


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