Pretty much what I expected -- thank you, o Committee of Awesome, for blunt and compassionate feedback.

  • My writing: good.
  • The clarity and organization of my writing: abysmal.
  • My ideas: potential, but half-baked (but, y'know, it's your third semester.)
  • My aim-on-target: where... where did you go? Mel? (It took them a long time to figure out where I had answered the questions.)

I need to learn how to sustain my writing into longer forms -- I think (and therefore write) in sprints, and that's okay, but I need to learn how to link sprints together to form the pathway of a marathon. Also, I do this funny twitchy thing when I hear the words "scholarly writing" -- I recoil and go "IT SUCKS AND I'M NOT GOING TO" and run off. My underlying (incorrect) assumption is that scholarly writing is the same thing as bad writing (and that since I do not want to be a bad writer, I must therefore not want to be a scholarly writer).

Scholarly writing is not necessarily terrible by nature. It's just... often executed poorly. But it can be executed well, and what I need to learn is what my scholarly voice sounds like when I write well. So I need to figure out what the "scholarly" in "scholarly writing" means, if it doesn't mean "bad."

How? Well, I'm consciously orienting towards bedtime-reading academic writing I admire for the next few weeks (Mary Catherine Bateson, Howard Becker, Howard Gardner, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Jim Collins) and thinking about ideas I admire with writing styles I don't want to emulate (alas, a large chunk of my Readiness bibliography) and why. I tend to absorb the writing styles of things I've just read, and I may have spent a bit too much time reading stuff I shouldn't have emulated style-wise during the two weeks -- but mostly, my time-crunch long-form writing process was... just bad. (Tweaks to that are underway.)

So I have a far better idea of what to improve on for the next round. And I'm glad to be able to write outside a vacuum now. And anyone who wants to talk about the stuff in there with me -- we can do that now. Questions, comments, demands to re-explain certain things better? Hit me up with 'em. I did a crappy job of explaining this stuff in my actual Readiness document, and I want to iterate and practice explaining the ideas there to people -- a lot more practice. Go, internet, go!