You Can’t Rush Art

Throwback. You Just Can’t Rush Art…

As I sat and listened to the two speakers at last night’s How I Write session, I could not help but admire what they both had accomplished at relatively young ages. After getting lost in the hopeless maze that is North Quadrangle I missed the introductions to both of the writers. But, as I listened to Perry subtly reference all of his achievements while speaking, I was enamored with the breadth of subjects that he succeeded in.

While I was completely in awe of Perry and his resume, it was Melody who mentioned a couple of things that will assist me in future composition endeavors. Namely she emphasized just how time consuming every part of the writing process can be. She mentioned a paper that she was assigned in April of 2010 to be completed by September of that year, yet she ended up turning in the final draft in November of 2011. Obviously, she missed her deadline, well by a long shot. But, her main point was that she was not ready mentally and emotionally to finish the paper in that time frame. She encouraged us, whenever possible, to take time off of certain projects when the dreaded writer’s block comes about. Unfortunately, I think that I often rush this process, constantly worried about deadlines and how they fit into my schedule; I race to finish things, which might be better if left alone for the time being.


Another point which I am still grappling with, even after the meeting, was the process by which Melody revises her work. She essentially said that she tapes her entire paper to a large wall so as to minimize the feel of a massive document. She argued that when one can see the entire document at once, it often feels more manageable to tackle. I figure this may be something that I should attempt, because I find editing on sheets of paper much more effective than on my computer screen. Hopefully, I can heed this advice as this is the second person to boast of this strategy (Dr. Manis). 

3 thoughts to “You Can’t Rush Art”

  1. I really hate that I missed the “How I Write” session. I would’ve loved to ask Melody more about her revision and editing processes as I am trying to work through the differences between revision and editing for myself. I am sure she has a lot to say about those things because it took her over a year of revising and editing to produce a final draft of an assigned paper.

    I can certainly identify with your statement about feeling rushed to complete an assignment because of the deadline. When I feel rushed to complete an assignment my mind enters a quiescent state much faster than it does if I don’t feel pressured to quickly produce a document. I am less likely to perform to the best of my abilities the more I am rushed. In addition, when I feel rushed I worry more about things like having the correct number of pages or incorporating the proper number of quotes in my papers rather than writing things that contribute to my argument.

    I think having the time to go through my ideal “writing process” is the key to success. In my opinion, that process entails organizing my thoughts, writing a first draft, revising and editing the first draft, taking time away from the paper, and coming back to the paper to revise and edit it again to refine my thoughts. However, I find it difficult to do this here at U of M because I don’t seem to have the time to go through this process for every paper. A few weeks ago I was given a prompt for a 6 to 8 page argumentative essay 1 week before it was due. Is a week enough time to do all of this for one paper while still keeping up with all the other things I am obliged to do? Should I make my ideal “writing process” a little shorter? What is your writing process? I am very interested in feedback on this because I think responses to questions like these will help me evolve as a writer.

  2. Time. To college students, time is not only more precious than gold; it’s more precious than sleep, healthy eating habits and a small fortune, a cost that comes in the form of Starbuck’s coffee, Monsters, and Energy Bars. This lack of time is not only detrimental to the writing process, which requires distance and revision, it hinders the brain’s creativity and makes it harder to focus. Plus writing itself takes time, preparation, which always takes longer than I think it will, and the actual writing process which can be as joltly, slow and likely to break down as an Amtrack train. I have a tendency to blame myself when my writing slows down, and papers take too long to write, but Melanie’s encouragement that this is just part of the process and that you have to be patient with yourself really helped me. I give myself deadlines a lot and there useful in managing all my responsibilities but I’m starting to question how helpful they are to my writing.

    I have my own version of Melody’s tape to the wall method. I color sections in a paper which I think are similar and go together and then view the document at a low zoom on my computer; it’s useful when thinking about the ways writing can be restructured. For some reason though, I just can’t tape my papers to the wall. I don’t know I’m so resistant to it. Maybe it’s because I dislike printing my papers in general. I think part of it is that I’m a detail-oriented person and getting the wide view is just contrary to that approach. But that’s perhaps a reason why I should exert myself more to practice techniques like that. Ultimately, the Writers We Love Event was really helpful because it helped introduce us to new ideas that, as young writers trying to develop our process, we might like to try.

  3. I was fascinated by the writers as well, especially Perry and his proficiency in multiple genres of writing. Fiction, screenplay writing, and poetry couldn’t seem to be any different from one another; yet he has such an ability that allows him to excel at whichever. I view him as an inspiration, because when I’m lost in my simplistic essay for a course, I can think of Perry writing deep poetry or an entertaining movie script then realize that maybe I can pull off what I am attempting.

    Part of his success as a writer might stem from his openness to new ideas. He stressed the importance of heeding outside opinions and seeing how they look incorporated into the work. You can always go back and change it, but it’s possible to never realize the improvement an outside perspective can have if you don’t test drive it.

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