I’m finishing up a 15-page research paper for one of my Library Science classes. It’s the longest piece of writing I’ve done since college. It wasn’t fun then, and it isn’t fun now.
I’m pretty good at writing short things, like assignment sheets and memos and email and little blog posts. But once I have to sustain an argument for more than three pages, I go a little crazy.
Maybe this is how my students feel.
Here’s what I’m realizing: Whereas I struggle with being an incredibly slow writer, I don’t have to worry much about spelling, grammar, or punctuation. I know it’ll be fine. In fact, I’ll read it a couple times through and be fairly certain there isn’t anything embarrassing.
My students don’t have that luxury. Even if they decide not to be lazy, they’ll still not find all the mistakes. This is maybe why I perceive that they have a fatalistic approach toward grammar and conventions.
A questions remains, then, about how to teach my students that even people who know how to write spend lots of time hating it but slogging through. Once I figure that out, maybe I can get more from my students.