readingredhead: (Nora Reading)
[personal profile] readingredhead
Today, I did a fair amount of planning work on the first paper for one of my seminars. I wrote up a lot of notes about it on my academic Dreamwidth account, if anyone really wants to read about thoughts on late-17th/early-18th-century women's writing and the creation of virtual or actual female homosociality, but I don't blame you if you don't.

Now I realize it maybe seems like cheating that I'm working on a seminar paper and counting that as "creating something." But I really do believe that academic writing and what we call "creative writing" can and should have more in common than the typical assumption of unreadable scholarly prose allows. I think that good scholarship is about creating something: looking at what you have before you and turning it into something new, something that wasn't there before you started tinkering. I also think that the papers themselves can (and should!) be written in a language that is exciting and engaging and clear -- just like any good work of fiction. 

Sometimes I worry that I spend so much time working on seminar papers and so little time working on more "creative" prose, but this is not actually a useful way of distinguishing between the two genres. If I stop thinking of seminar papers as a creative outlet, I'll never write beautiful ones. And I care about the beauty of my academic work, just as much as my "creative" (i.e. fiction-writing) work, so I'm going to keep thinking about seminar papers as thins that I create, one step at a time.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-03 04:06 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] rebeccawriting
Agreed re: creative beauty in academic work as well as in fiction. Although I have to admit I can't imagine caring nearly as much about the quality of engaging prose in my academic work as I do in my fiction. But I suspect that's why you are the Academic, not me.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-03 08:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cassiniflies.wordpress.com
My junior year high school teacher loved overarching metaphors and punny titles. We weren't allowed to use titles that did not Pop! As she put it. Honestly, I feel like putting good writing into academic papers is the most fun part of them. Otherwise you are just writing a bunch of stuff down. Which I have seen plenty of. :/

And I might read your notes later, I like reading things I know less about. Have to head to rehearsal soon.

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