Back to school

I’ve started taking a writing class through Stanford’s Continuing Studies program. It’s on improving writing productivity, and though I’ve only had one class so far, it’s fun. There are about 25 other students in the class, and it’s pretty diverse: all ages, men and women, many different ethnic backgrounds. I spent some time chatting with an Indian woman after class; she saw my bike gear and told me about her Kawasaki Vulcan 750. 😉

One of my goals for the class is to start the habit of writing regularly. I tend to procrastinate/binge on my columns and articles, and I’m not writing as well as I could be because of it. The class suggests setting aside 15 minutes of uninterrupted writing time per day to work on a project — a seemingly realistic time frame which is still surprisingly difficult to schedule in. I’m not counting blogging as my 15 minutes; I don’t have any trouble finding time to jot down these thoughts. I need the scheduled time to work on more structured projects: my Women on Wheels columns, gear review articles, travelogues, queries, etc.

I was chatting with Peter about this last night, and he asked whether blogging is actually counterproductive to my structured writing. He was wondering whether blogging satiated my writing urge, therefore leaving me without the desire to work on other projects. It’s an interesting question. I’ve never really had that problem. I can always find something to write about, and blogging is a very different kind of writing than my columns, which in turn is a very different kind of writing than my travelogues or non-fiction research pieces. It’s all varied enough so as not to be boring or repetitive.

Also, blogging seems to really prime the pump for me, so to speak. It lets me play with language on a more-or-less daily basis; it keeps me on my toes just a little bit. I also often use pieces from my journal in larger pieces: anything from a sentence I particularly liked to an entire chunk out of a trip write-up. Obviously the structured writing is revised and edited, unlike the blog, which is rarely even spell-checked, but the ideas still tranfer well.

I laughed out loud at a grammar joke again today. There’s no hope for me.

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