Informational writing

November 10, 2007

I wrote a little over 2500 words yesterday.  Unfortunately they were for a school paper comparing two models of information seeking behavior.  I would have to be extremely creative to find a way to infuse those words into the NaNo project.  “Jim returned home after a tiring day at the office and sat down to write about Zipf’s Principle of Least Effort.  Here’s what he wrote [Copy and Paste]…”  I’m imagining this interlude would prove to be quite boring.  Unless you are a fan of Zipf.  Its quite possible he has a small but cultish following in the information researcher community.

A couple of things I discovered about my writing habits yesterday:

  1. It takes me a long time to process and then compose.  I started the paper around 9:30a.m. and did not submit until close to 11:p.m.
  2. Procrastination is my favorite dancing partner.  Yours too?  I will actively seek out chores that I have been avoiding for weeks when an assignment needs to be completed.  Yesterday I raked half of the backyard, washed clothes and attempted repair of a leaky hose.  I’m sure G would like me to work on another degree after I complete this one.
  3. When I finally manage to squeeze a few words out of my fingers the sentences are almost as good as finished.  I looked over my work after I wrote the last line of the paper and only needed to make a few minor changes.  Some may think this a blessing though the load is heavy to bear when creator, editor and critic all share the same space. 
  4. The internal struggle must be won to get this body and mind into creative work mode.  When the world is so vastly interesting I can always find something new that entertains.  Without a deadline writing becomes a secondary concern.

And yet I return again and again to the written word feeling the need to share and celebrate the vastness of life from my individual perspective.  Does self-expression need to be so hard?  I believe in my case faulty comparisons and perfectionism undermine my creative flow.  And I have been known to lounge excessively. 

I believe its time for a picture.  Last weekend and a few flowers still hanging on.

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6 Responses to “Informational writing”

  1. Taffiny Says:

    happy happy flowers.
    At least you are a productive procrastinator, good for you, and good for G. 🙂

    I wish I could jump right in, hit the ground running each day, instead I am like a dog, walking around in circle after circle around the spot, before I set down in it. And then I think I hear something going on in the next room that might be interesting, so I get up to check it out. Later I come back and start all over, doing my circles again.

    I know nothing about which you speak, information seeking behaviors and um whatever that other word was.. (oh that is right I can just scroll up) Zipf.


  2. Ah procrastination and the inner critic – a fatal combination – one I know well. Funny how I’d rather mow the lawn or do the ironing than sit down and write, no matter how much I want to write!

    Loved the shot of the convolvulus – beautiful

  3. Matthew Says:

    Taffiny Zipf is only slightly interesting, you are not missing much. Circles sound like a nice way to get some writing in.

    Absolute Vanilla-Agreed and thanks for enlightening me about the flowers. Convolvulus-what a nice name.

  4. LILIPUTANIA Says:

    HI THERE,MATTHEW!I MUST GREET THIS BLOG AND ALL THOSE WHO ARE READING IT.I THINK IT HAS SOME VERY GOOD IDEAS AND IT IS NOT ABOUT THE SAME THINGS THAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE WRITING ABOUT.IT CAN BE GOOD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO READ SOME THINGS THAT ARE WRITTEN HERE,AND,ALL IN ALL-I THINK IT IS VERY WELL DONE.IT HAS SOME SERIOUS TOPICS ON IT.NOT SERIOUS LIKE-POLITICS AND GLOBAL ISSUES,BUT TOPICS CONSIDERING HUMAN MIND-WHICH ARE NOT LESS SERIOUS THAN GLOBAL ONES.I THINK THE FIRST THING WE ALL HAVE TO DO IS TO EXPLORE OUR OWN MIND AND SOLVE OUR INNER ISSUES,AND THAT WAY-WE’LL MAKE THIS WHOLE WORLD BETTER.GREETINGS!


  5. This is a comparitively older post so I don’t know how up-to-date it is for you, but oh boy isn’t writing a glorious chore!
    I remember wondering what all those drafts were that English teachers always talked about since I only needed the one, though this necessarily came with all the time required to stare it down and finally say today was the day to get to it. I’d like to think I don’t suffer from these little difficulties any longer, but it isn’t uncommon to find myself inanely backspacing a single sentence five times over because it was important I got it RIGHT or realizing that I’ve wandered in thought about five tangents away from my subject while staring out the window. Hah, it just becomes laughable at times.
    It’s always a good step for the writer to write about writing to progress in it. I’ve found that we truly write to get to the ends of what we have to think, not the end of what we have to say. That is the art of editing. We’ll get there, Matt!

  6. Matthew Says:

    Michael, nice to read your words here. Writing…my nemesis and saviour. I know that I think about writing much more than I actually write. And then I feel guilty for not “following my bliss” or plunging into the creative waters. I agree about the laughableness of it all and it is quite cathartic to write about the writing process…at the very least there is something to write about!


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