Monday, October 26, 2009

Object, Audience

In our writing process discussion today, we were struggling with "what counts" as writing time. We're trying to exclude various pseudo-writing activities, i.e., activities that are only nominally (and sometimes at quite a stretch) contributing to reaching your writing goals (like finishing a paper, or getting your dissertation done on time). After trying out proposals like "writing to flesh out an outline", "writing to a thesis", and simply "writing about something", each of which is good in its own way, we hit on this one: if you can know in advance what you are writing about (your object) and who you are writing to (your audience) it probably counts. This does not mean that thinking about your classes, planning field-work, reading books, and analyzing data are not important activities. They're just not, properly speaking, part of your writing process. Everything has its time and its place. My concern is just that you make sure that you are regularly engaged in full-fledged writing, i.e., (as we discovered) saying something to someone.

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