Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pre-writing, or What *AM* I doing after graduation??

One of my professors' assignment was writing a 1250-word paper, due week 7 of our term. But the method meant starting back around week 3: multiple paper drafts, each one written in at least two sittings, printing and proofreading before typing the next one. Confusing? Yes.

The best thing about this plan was stage 1, which we call the Zero Draft. It's seriously the least-intimidating, least-stressful kind of writing on earth: brain-dumping. You don't have to have a thesis statement, an argument, even complete sentences. You just start typing about anything remotely related to the subject, plopping in block quotes from sources, brilliant and idiotic statements from you, questions to self... yes, stream-of-consciousness brain-dump.

Of course, once you've done the gathering-of-stuff, it's time to take up hammer and nails and actually construct something out of the mess of materials. But this pre-decision, pre-building, is not to be underrated: you need it to check inventory: what you have, what you need, what you want, what you like, what is a possibility and what has absolutely no basis for inclusion here.

I'm pretty sure this is time for Zero-Draft inventories regarding my life, and the pages aren't pretty at the moment. I don't have a strong thesis statement yet, but I know I need to eventually: decided, supported, printed up and stapled with a satisfying click. Maybe graduation would make a nice deadline for this plan to be complete. For now, I have a lot of random thoughts, likes, notions, dreams, all bumping around in my noggin, that aren't formed enough for me to pick out of it a direction to go, a blueprint to build on, a paper to write.

But I'm grateful for the time I have for zero-drafts and rough-drafts and red-pen editing of my life's plan. Teach me to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom.

1 comment:

  1. Having been out of school for all of seven months, I am beginning to think that this whole life is the brain-dump part, and you don't get to know much of anything about what the thesis statement is until you die and get to do it all over again without the various disadvantages of this part of the process. Whether that's true or not, it's making a pretty good excuse for not knowing the thesis in the meantime.