I’m joining the chorus of Minors blogging about Professor Maria Cotera’s Writer to Writer presentation at the Literati book store in downtown Ann Arbor. The first thing I want to say is that I am really happy I went for the sole reason that I got to experience a venue and an event that I will probably never visit again. By that I mean that if I weren’t in the Minor in Writing program, I would have had no interest, motivation, or idea that event like this was happening at a bookstore on a random Thursday night. Not only does the Minor give you the opportunity to explore yourself through our class assignments, but also to seek out new ways to widen your scope of the local writing community. I went to a reading for Ray’s book during the Gateway Course ([PIKA!]) at the Vault of Midnight comic book store, so the Minor has exposed me to events and places I had no idea even existed. So, thanks Sweetland and the MIW program!
Now to Professor Cotera’s presentation. Everybody else on the blog has talked about Professor Cotera’s message on being passionate about what you’re writing about. I couldn’t agree more with what she and everybody else has said–being passionate about what you are doing, whether it is your writing, your career, your hobby, or your social life, is of the utmost importance. How can you expect people to read your writing when you wouldn’t want to read it yourself?
However, I want to blog about something different. She talked a lot about her mother and how she learned to love the writing process by watching her mother write at McDonald’s on scratch paper. She then proceeded to talk about how some of the best writing nowadays is happening on blogs–more blogging=more writing, and as she said, writing a lot is the best way to become a good writer. Ray then asked the question about whether Professor Cotera missed anything about the era where people were writing on scratch paper and napkins instead of blogs and the Internet. I’ve thought about the same question myself before because I constantly find myself distracted when I type on my computer. With ESPN, Buzzfeed, and Twitter just a click away, I often find myself procrastinating when my writing stalls or the going gets tough. These moments are crucial to a writer; as Professor Cotera says, when things aren’t making sense, when you feel like you are stuck, that is when you will really start figuring out the direction your writing is going. Sometimes I think it would be simpler just to have you, a pen, paper, some light, and your thoughts (yes, I know I can do this nowadays too. But with endless distractions and the craziness that is college life, as well as the fact that most assignments are due online/via electronic word processors, I often find it challenging to find self-restraint when I work on a computer).
So, I’m wondering if anybody else has these same thoughts. Do you think writing would be better or worse if you could just write all of your assignments with pen and paper? Like Professor Cotera’s mom, do you have a “McDonalds” that you consider your personal safe haven for writing? How do you deal with the inevitable distractions of working on a laptop, computer, iPad, etc? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!