morsla: (mantis04)
I'm changing where and when I work over the next month, and that's likely to flow on to things like where I post things online. For starters, I'll be working from RMIT a lot more often. It has fewer distractions, and no kitten biting me whenever I pay attention to a computer screen.

I'm trying to get a first draft of my thesis assembled by my birthday. Actually, a bit earlier than that: my supervisor is heading overseas for a month during September, and so I need it done before she leaves the country. That means I need an unholy amount of words written by the end of the month: good or bad, what matters right now is getting concepts from brain to screen, so that other people can help me carve them into shape.

To get there, I'm trying some new things. Strange, unfamiliar things, like writing every day (haven't done much of that yet) and not running off to start other jobs (research assistant work, layout, editing, painting) mid-task. It's a little disconcerting, realising just how often I flit off to do something else when I sit down to work.

I'm writing about it as I go, over on Wordpress: Project: First Draft. As there are only so many minutes in the day, that means I probably shouldn't be writing as much in here - though all this time in front of a computer is bound to lead to occasional blog posts when I take breaks.

Just in case anyone wonders where I've gone, I post short-form stuff on Twitter most often. Mid-range stuff (and travel updates for family!) have been going onto Facebook, but all that stuff will move to G+ soon as I prefer their approach to privacy settings. Longer stuff often doesn't happen, but when it does it's being posted to Wordpress or (occasionally!) here. So I might not be here much, but I'm not far away...
morsla: (Default)
Some kids hate eating vegetables. I hated writing.

From my earliest moments in primary school, I avoided writing whenever I could. I'd push my book away, drop my pencils on the floor and make a face when forced to write.

'Just one sentence,' the teachers would say. 'If you don't finish your writing, you won't be allowed to play any games.' Children have looked at plates of overcooked Brussels sprouts with more enthusiasm than I directed at my workbooks.

I still don't know why I found the process so painful. I had no trouble forming the letters, teaching myself cursive in grade one. The shapes came easily enough, and I copied lettering styles from the covers of books. Most of my letters became pictures, quickly growing to fill the blank space on the page. Words were far less interesting than pictures.

It wasn't a matter of learning a vocabulary, either. I read voraciously, hauling dozens of books home after each trip to the library. My head was full of stories, and I filled exercise books with pictures illustrating them. My teachers despaired. 'No more drawing in class!' they demanded, hoping that I would start to write instead. I didn't.

I still have an exercise book from grade three, proudly labelled ‘Writing Journal.’ Despite the optimistic title, the book contains just four words: 'On the holidays, I'.

Whatever happened those holidays, I certainly didn’t feel like writing about it. The rest of the book is blank. Pristine expanses of prime writing real estate, untouched by pen or pencil. I keep the book to remind myself how things change.

As the years passed, I slowly grew out of my loathing. While my peers were learning that broccoli and sprouts were, in fact, edible, I discovered that words weren't always a poor substitute for pictures. In grade five, a substitute teacher coaxed three paragraphs from me. After a unit on fiction in year eight, I turned in sixty pages to a shocked teacher.

Many years and thousands of pages later, I found myself enrolled in a Professional Writing course. Looking back at how much I've changed over the years, I guess I must be getting old…

September 2014

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