Writing Woes

Over Thanksgiving break I kept getting asked how grad school compared to undergrad, and I kept saying that it was more of the same — by which I meant, the work is not more difficult than that of undergrad, but there's more of it. I feel like all I do is write. Write write write. I design a good bit, too, but that's not nearly as mentally draining. For the most part, I research, read, research, read, write, write, write, write, write.

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And yesterday while I was walking across campus and thinking about linking verbs — because that is the type of thing that I, Kate Brannen, think about — I remembered a paper that I wrote about writing during my senior year of high school.

Here is an excerpt from the middle:

I always feel a blockage when I begin an essay. Something hinders me from putting ideas into words. Writing an essay is hard. For instance, just then I had to pick a word. I used “hard,” for this example, but my brain was throwing so many other words at me. Painstaking. That came to mind. Grueling. That, too. Time-consuming. Exhausting. Frustrating. Oh, which do I choose? Which do I mean?

Also, that linking verb begs to be replaced. Sure, writing is hard, is painstaking, is grueling. But can I say, “Writing painstakes?” “Writing gruels?” No, I think not. And therein lies the dilemma. To write, I must grapple and battle with words until they say what I mean, and, all too often, I am unsure of what it is I mean.

So I write and rewrite and type and delete and cut and paste and stop and cry, and after all that, I have my rough draft. My oh-so-rough draft.

I've been feeling this way a lot these days. I'm so tired of writing. Sick of it, really. My brain hurts. My eyes hurt. My soul hurts.

Just kidding. My soul doesn't hurt. I couldn't think of a third thing, but I've been trained to list in threes.

It doesn't make sense that my remedy for being sick of writing is to write about it. It's like writing and I are in an abusive relationship. Writing totally beats me up, but I always go back to it because ... I just love it. I love it recklessly and irrationally in a way that makes my coexistent hate for it all the greater. I think there's an Eminem feat. Rihanna song about it.

Maybe I love writing for the same reasons that I love/d running, though to a lesser extent. I love it despite the fact that it's hard and because of the fact that it's hard.

And I suppose I write all this to say sorry that I've been totes neglecting the blog this semester. I miss it terribly. I've been busy writing far more scholarly things lately. I almost said "far more boring," but that's not exactly true. Much of what I've written has been interesting to me. But it's definitely painstaking in a way that blog-writing is not. It actually kind of gruels most days.