“Try as we might, we write what we write”
― bg Thurston
Complaining about writing is not ‘writing’. If only I could really understand that.
So here goes another post tucked neatly in the ‘Dead Writer Series’.
I tell myself I have successfully resolved my quarter-life crisis. I assure you that in the face of my own cruel, introverted life review and career review sessions, I keep perspective. However, each year, I find myself with an aching lack of clarity about what kind of a writer I am.
I like my writing. (There I said it.)
Keep all my write-ups at a comfortable emotional distance, I know it’s not bad, but it is not great either. Push me any closer, and as the creator of my content I expect others to like it as much as I do, if not more. Pull me any further away; I realize my writing is broken. So now, in a sweeping generalization, I have decided I hate all my writings older than six months. I can label this behavior as ‘The IKEA effect’. (Did anyone tell you that labeling your own insanity doesn’t bring you any solace? Well, take my word for it, it doesn’t.)
I’ve come to believe that a writer must be ‘a disciplined mess.’
Mess? I am. No discussion required.
Disciplined? That is difficult. Sigh.
To make writing a daily ritual requires the urgent determination I don’t have in me. For now.
Meanwhile, I try to keep the writer alive in all the non-committal ways possible.
(Off-track: So… I am enthusiastic about the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) experience and Coursera has caught my fascination. I’ve finished three courses yet, and plan to do six more by the end of this year. Check it out! The courses offered are of good quality, varied and interesting.)
In my attempt to keep improving my writing, I had recently taken up an online course on ‘Crafting an Effective Writer: Tools of the Trade by Lorrie Ross, Lawrence (Larry) Barkley, Ted Blake.’ The results should be due in a month. If you score 80% above, you get a certificate that states “The ___ University did not verify/cannot guarantee the identity of the student taking this online course.” Yeah. I am sure I am getting that certificate.
Anyway, it was a course on grammar with written assignments and stuff. (No course can stop me from saying words like ‘stuff’.) The written assignments undergo peer assessment i.e. five students, randomly chosen by the system, evaluate it based on the given rubric.
But that’s not the point. I found this link in the discussion forum of the course. It ‘analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers. Voila! That’s what I needed today.
So I got my two written assignments analyzed.
Apparently, when I pretend to be creative, I write like Lewis Carroll.
And when I write essays, I write like H P Lovecraft.
So, I did some research (i.e. checked two websites only) and the conclusion is that I am analytically morbid, and creatively nonsensical.
So that’s that.
“Discipline allows magic. To be a writer is to be the very best of assassins. You do not sit down and write every day to force the Muse to show up. You get into the habit of writing every day so that when she shows up, you have the maximum chance of catching her, bashing her on the head, and squeezing every last drop out of that bitch.”
― Lili St. Crow
PS: I’ll post those assignments with the peer evaluation, and explain my conclusion in the next blog.