Focusing writing energies

12 11 2013

I have just realised something! Over the last few months, I have been castigating myself for my lack of focus and discipline about writing, spending lots of time trying to find ways to improve the regularity and quality of my writing.  Today, I realised that I do write – and write regularly! But most of it is pointless in a way, beyond keeping in touch with friends and sharing information and commentary around topics.

What am I talking about? I am talking about my interaction of social media channels, especially Facebook and Twitter, where I love to share and discuss information around a broad range of topics.

What I realised is that if I stopped commenting and writing stuff on Facebook, I would probably have at least 500 words a day I could use for some other writing activity. But it is not that easy to do, conversational chit chat is not the same as trying to come up with writing that is both meaningful and elegant. I also enjoy the conversations had on social media and do not want to sacrifice that activity as it helps keep my mind active and in touch with friends and colleagues.

Anyway, it is good to know that I am writing, even if it is not quite what I am aiming for, it is a step in the right direction.

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5 responses

13 11 2013
lcarroli

It’s been interesting reading these posts about these challenges with writing. What is writing to you? What does it mean to you? Writing is always difficult. Virginia Woolf was not only possessed by writing, it possessed her. In her writing she found and created space/s of her own … Helene Cixous is breathless and lifeless without writing. These women have found in writing meaning for their lives and living through writing, which adds a whole other dimension to the idea of ‘life writing’.

I think writing is about experiments (communicative, form, narrative, textual etc) and the best experiments happen in an improvised way. Writing about your struggles with writing is writing … Writing as chit chat and chit chat as writing is a very worthy writing experiment – Josephine Wilson and I grew our award winning *Water project out of internet relay chat and I have always woven those kinds of threads into what might be considered ‘real writing’. The relation between technology, media, community and writing is complex and contoured … Those chit chat sessions and social media – are as much about exploring writing as research and research as writing as it is about capital W writing …

I can’t give you any advice but I do know that you have struggled with writing for the whole time I have known you despite having written numerous blogs, essays, journals, theses etc … Perhaps, you need to look at what you have achieved and figure out what has worked in the past … Deadlines? External pressures? Status? Community? Network? And then go with the flow …

13 11 2013
bytetime

Thanks Linda for your comments, as always, giving me food for thought.

You are also correct, I have written in many contexts, some more enjoyable than others. I certainly wouldn’t go down the path of writing another thesis, but documenting research is a driver, and I guess this blog is a way to play with research, writing and documentation.

One thing I know that does work for me is ‘the conversation’, which you explore in your wonderful project with Josephine Wilson.

A challenge for me too is ‘what’ I can say publicly. As a government employee, I am bound by a Code of Conduct which means that there are many topics that I can’t write about or where I need to display a sensitivity to the subject. Part of my current process is to explore both ‘writing’ and ‘Writing’ in a way that allows for experimentation and exploration that does not compromise my role in the APS.

The truth is, I am a restless spirit and through my blog I am seeking to focus my energy, rather than scattering it. This is no mean feat, as my mind always wanders to the edges, seeking strange connections between things.

Although you say you can’t give me any advice, your ongoing commitment to your writing practice has for many years been a rich source of inspiration, and an example of how one can artfully link disparate ideas and practices into coherence.

xt

13 11 2013
lcarroli

I’m of the Helene Cixous school in the sense that without writing I lack breath. Sometimes, I breathe deeply, other times shallowly, other times gasping and other times I hold my breath just a bit … I’ve been trying mindfulness as I write – just being present, in my body, with my mind, at my desk, in the coolness of the day … and that’s been a positive process. I thought my writing was, at times, almost beautiful some years ago, but the need for a professional life that yielded an income and my studies in planning have ruined some of that writerliness and forced me to do things to writing rather than with writing …

Writing and publishing have also become conflated (e.g. blogging). Maybe there’s something in not feeling the pressure to publish and just writing for you … What do you think?

13 11 2013
bytetime

Beautifully said! Perhaps it is about just writing for me – I think that is why I keep looking at posts about writer’s diaries and ‘notes to self’. I think too, like you, that professional life determines that the way you approach writing changes – the type of writing changes, the topics, the style and inevitably the audience. Maybe I just want to be my own audience, to write to see what thoughts are trying to break through, what experiences are worth remembering and what moves me to want to write. I see blogging as a step towards the regular routine of writing, to encourage some sort of discipline over my unruly mind 🙂

16 02 2014
How Time Gallops – Happy Horse Year! | Geokult

[…] I had a conversation with good friend Linda Carroli on this blog about the nature of writing on my mediakult blog. At the time, Linda suggested that perhaps just writing something for myself would take me out of […]

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