Monday, October 27, 2008
Writing, whether it's fiction or fact
A couple of comments about writing today.
First, academic writing always goes through periods of change. Today, the realities of how people conduct research has an impact on how academics publish their work. This leads to the topic of a piece in the Guardian about online journals 'narrowing study'. Academics are increasingly acting in parallel ways to journalists and there's good and bad to this. When doing my Masters, I was told to stop writing like a journalist, a habit I happily revived in my PhD - and it didn't hurt me. I won a medal. (Yes, even academics can win medals.) How was I writing like a journalist? I tried to be catchy, to inject humour, to keep up with current trends and events, all while juggling a thesis-load of theory and critical analysis. However, at times, the constant need to publish in a timely fashion is stressful and there are moments when I sit at my desk passionately wishing I could take a decade to refine my ideas before publishing. This is a luxury that has all but disappeared.
On the bright side, journalists are also feeling increasingly pressured to produce content quickly. It's just the way it is today. The Internet has its downside for those of us in the writing professions.
But, then, it also offers a support network. Moving on to fiction and next month is the beginning of NaNoWriMo. While it's American in origin, it's worth having a look at for those of you interested in writing novels. Authors like Neil Gaiman and Meg Cabot support it and even go on the journey. There are many tips available on the site. The important thing for creative writers is to write. This is the spirit of NaNoWriMo. I may even unofficially participate.