A to Z Challenge 2013

Monday, May 18, 2009

Different Kinds Of Writing

The title might make you think I'm going to start talking about genres, but that's not where I'm headed. One of the classes I have left involves a huge senior project. The very first portion of that project is a technical writing "class". I put class in quotes, because really the project is 3 "classes" that together form my capstone. Anyway, my project involves setting up a fictional dentist office with a network, including hardware, software, any training, security, etc. One would think that since I am at least a halfway decent writer, I could blaze through this. Add to that the fact that I'm already working in the IT industry (and have been for over 15 years), and you'd expect I could really blaze through this.

Alas, none of this is true. While I have lots of experience (both theoretical and practical) setting up networks, technical writing is something I abhor. It's like torture to expect me to do this kind of work. I'm not exactly sure why this is either, since I know I already have the know-how. It got me to thinking though, about what I like to write and what I don't like to write. If you were to ask me to crank out some poetry, I would be hemming and hawing all day long and maybe get one stanza down. But if I were allowed to just tell a story, I imagine I could get along just fine. There is also the problem that this is a graded assignment, so there's a little bit of pressure there as well. In my mind, I guess I envision it to be similar to a critique circle, except that the graders are holding hot pokers and I'm strapped to an interrogation table. So how do I overcome my angst with writing a style that I'm not comfortable in? That is the question that plagues me today. I have a very easy-to-follow template provided by a professor, but I just have been unable (or unwilling) to type the first word. How do you deal with writing outside your comfort zone? How do you change your mindset for a moment so that you can still write with the same energy and excellence you display in other works? I haven't come up with an answer yet, but I guess I'll just have to start with one sentence and go from there. Here's hoping my muse can quiet down and get to work.


Michelle H. said...

Usually it can take one sentence to get the juices flowing. I wish you luck with this.

Abby said...

I think I understand, to some degree, what you're going through. I maintain the blog for a plant nursery I work for and they are constantly expecting me to write posts about what plants to plant when and how to install grass, and so on. So boring.

I'm in HR and know very little about plants, but I'm the only one who works there that knows more about computers than where the power button is. So, by default, I was put in charge of writing the posts. The owner will give me three little snippets of info and expect me to write a whole entry. Then he'll hover, coming in every five minutes or so to see if it's done.

Usually, I just have to get something down, no matter how bad it is, and then tweak it until it sounds decent. Even then, I won't attach my name to anything on there. I've yet to write something I'm proud of for that blog.

Sometimes I find that it helps me to de-stress and get the creative juices flowing if I take a few minutes to write a very sarcastic post about the owner and then imagine how funny it would be to post it on my blog. Which would be very bad idea. I haven't gotten to the point yet where the funny outweighs the ramifications. Maybe someday. :)

Sorry. That's probably not very helpful.

Good luck! And watch out for those hot pokers.

Lost Wanderer said...

I think it depends on why you are doing something. If you have to write a report/paper for work, class or something that you don't have passion for, then you make the effort to achieve the good result, but it doesn't have to speak to your heart. It could be purely mental work. But if you are doing something on the subject that you are passionate about, and want to do the best you can, then your heart has to be in it.

Sometimes I have to write certain things that I am doing because I have to, in that case, I get it right, I make the effort, but I am not worried about loving it. But if I am writing a story, I want to love it. You just have to give it your own priority.