Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Writing Anxieties

I wanted to blog about something else entirely, one that is about being critical at Critical. However, after collecting my first extended paper, the guts that spurred my motivations for the previous article deflated.

My paper was on citizenship, and call for geographers to interrogate the assumptions of their writing, and how their criticisms are "nothing new" because it falls into the pit of dualisms, making the mistake they were criticising others of making. I have longed been impatient with geography as a discipline. For one that stresses links between social facts (see Durkheim and Suicide), it fails to draw links between disciplines on a fundamental level where we take a step back and really see where our logical arguments lead us. We are content with being critical, without actually analysing what does the geist of critic really is. For me, it presents a fundamental shift, the debunking of base assumptions - the challenge for others to accept the implications of their conclusions.

The comments of the paper were fair. First and foremost, I have problems in English expressions. Secondly, I did not justify why I used certain theories (because there were too apparent to me, some times I forget to lay it out plainly to people). Thirdly, my limited language is inhibiting the full extent of my ideas.

There are a couple of things I have learnt from this paper. It is not my ideas that are problematic, it is the way it is presented. I should count myself lucky because many people with higher linguistical ability would have to work on the conception. Language is something that comes with practice and continuous editing, and with that, I hope that I can be a better writer.

Someone recently started reading this blog and was taken by how I write. I am truly flattered, and humbled at the same time that people liked to hear more of my ideas. Due to this affirmation and consequent critical response from my supervisor, I wish to improve so that I do not disappoint myself - my ideas are worth much more than the limited language abilities I am right now.

Writing is a form of thinking. If that’s true, the advice often given to writers—first get your thought clear, and only then try to state it clearly—is wrong.

Howard Becker Writing for Social Scientists

Often times, I do not know what to think until I start writing. I become anxious because there was this pressure to want the "perfect" idea, and ever since I found that book, it became clearer that writing itself is a continous process that does not end when the letters enter .docx. It is simply the beginning of a very long journey of discovery. I think when I write, and write to think.

I am bummed at my paper because there was pride involved. I was used to being "good" and became too comfortable at my knowledge, that I didn't think about working at my abilities. This semester, I visited the writing centre and didn't receive very constructive feedbacks - it simply affirmed what I wanted to hear. In some sick fashion, I was yearning for criticism, but on my own terms. When it was finally dished out, it hurt. I guess at this point, I comprehend now that criticism is not looking for what you already know what is wrong with yourself, but to accept that there are many other blind spots that only people who have experience can point them for you. That is why we all have supervisors to "keep us in check". Yet, I am also afraid, that I won't make it in time. Having said, that is beyond my control because if I never try, I'll never know.

Now...I guess I have to visit those Primary School English section of Popular Bookshops to refresh my grammar somewhat.

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