By James Johnson
Writing often and well has been a challenging problem that has followed me most of my life. From writing horror movie scripts in the cornfields of small town Ontario, to producing wounded and confused ethereal poetry on the staggered streets in a Peterborough winter, boundless and silent. I have sought to write often and well, for what feels like most of my adult life, post-formative years and with broader perspectives; some of which I earned at great personal cost, physically, emotionally, spiritually.
One thing is certainly clear to me. The writing I do now is worse than what I contentedly drew up as a child. C. Wright Mills would say I feel stuck in a prose that’s full of pose. Academic writing, or writing with the intention of producing something scholarly tangible, is not something I want overwhelming my other aspirations. Academic writing requires research and rigidity; in ethical standards and scientific methods (especially if you wish to gain objective perspectives, or prove and disprove theories established by your colleagues). Half the time I feel as if I am writing with the express intent of wowing or subduing the audience with skill and panache. When in reality I’m only distancing myself from the intended target. Working on bettering myself as a writer requires writing on things I may not like, or perhaps even agree with. Such is the sacrifice with which writing in this mode entails.
Writing outside of the library industry, as an external observer with access to professionals and industry best practices via coursework, has rendered much of what I read and form opinions about tenuous. It mostly comes from a place of uncertainty, of being unsure. So I write about what I read, unable to provide evidence due to a lack of field work experience. Therefore, my academic writing, as it remains in it’s unpublished state, resides in the to-do drawer of my desk, buttressed by relevant articles of which I have read and re-read, trying to distill what I can. It will stay there until I can referee its contents, challenging what I may know theoretically to what I will know in certainty. For now I can take my lovely library administrative skills and file it accordingly so as to access it quickly and efficiently! That is something to be grateful for.
Forming good habits for writing often and well is essential for the kind of works I’m exited to explore in the future. My affection for youth horror has been gnawing at my psyche for ages, and devoting some time to these projects is something I am keenly looking forward to.
That being said, and coming full circle to academic writing, I have a significant course load starting next week. Establishing a strong schedule will have to be my next task. Without a clear writing plan, I wont be doing much creating, whether academic or personal.
Thanks for reading, and all the best as you face your own writing challenges