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Now I know why I’ve never written a book

favicon Like many people, I like the idea of writing rather than actually writing.

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.

Do you have ideas for me? favicon


  1. Trisha

    Perhaps your first book will be a collection of your reflections about teaching, drawing on your strength of writing short pieces (most already written thanks to your committment to Iserotope this year). Your reflections, dilemmas, and questions are worthy. In admiration-

  2. Anjie

    According to my high school and college grades, I know how to write. And as an English major, I should probably enjoy writing and be good at it. Yet you can count me as one of those people who “spend[s] lots of time hating it but slogging through it.”

Please share your brilliant insights!