2007 Writing Journal – Part 6

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I’m taking a blog break to do another Project October. In place of my normal blog posts during July, I will be posting in nine parts a writing journal I completed as the major assessment piece of my final master’s subject called The Writerly Self.

This is Part 6.

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10 April 2007
The rhizomatic text. Ugh! Why do academics refuse to construct concepts and sentences in plain English? I suppose it helps to keep the academic club free of people like me with commercial sensibilities and a complete lack of deference. They probably wouldn’t be happy to know that Wikipedia is my first stop in trying to break down their complex ideas and structures into something moderately understandable.

But Jacqui says that despite my conviction that I haven’t understood the concept, I’ve managed it pretty well. I never would have thought The Simpsons would end up being the answer to anything in a writing course as theory dense as this one is. But drawing a link between the theoretical and the empirical is usually the best way for me to understand anything. I envy people who don’t find it necessary to do that, who can look at abstract concepts and understand their intrinsic meaning immediately. But then again, I’ve always found that, with writing, understanding the theory doesn’t necessarily put you anywhere near being a good writer. Theories tend to be about rules and patterns and good writing is about breaking the rules and originality.

I guess it’s a matter of simply doing what works. I’ll be over there, breaking the rules!

16 April 2007
This week’s topic was business writing and no matter how many times someone tries to convince me that business writing can be fun and exciting and creative, I still drown in bad examples of it at work and as a consumer in general. Does advertising count as business writing? Not sure. I wrote some advertisements for a newspaper marketing campaign we ran earlier in the year, giving the marketing manager three options and, of course, she chose the least creative one. I’m sure there’s a level of professionalism that needs to be shown and I know I’m not an expert in marketing, but surely the eye is going to be drawn more effectively to a heading that screams, ‘Are you a know-it-all?’ more than it will be drawn to one that reads, ‘Want recognition for all your years of hard work?’

I don’t think it would come as any great surprise to anyone to learn that I’m not really business minded. I have all these silly ideas about making it own my own merits and not riding on other people’s coat tails, but that doesn’t seem to be the way the world works, especially not when it comes to writing. It’s so much easier to get a look in if you know somebody. I saw on a television program a few weeks ago that the Australian actress Sophie Lee has signed a book deal with Random House to write a novel about a young Australian actress trying to make it in Hollywood. Vomit. I’m so sick of these people who succeed without trying, especially actors and actresses landing book deals. I suppose it’s great for the ghost writing industry, but for those of us who struggle to land book deals for years, it’s a real punch in the face. I know publishing houses are businesses, but they’re in the business of books. Why do so many of them seem to be run by marketers who don’t care about what’s good, only what they can sell? Arrrgghhh!

23 April 2007
Finally, we get to look at an actual author. I’m surprised, considering that this is a writing course, that we don’t look at much writing or many specific writers. I’m a big believer in learning from those who have proven they know how to do it, especially when it comes to screenplays, but novels as well.

Then again, I’m not sure whether Helen Demidenko or Darville or whatever she’s calling herself at the moment should be classified as an actual author. The biggest lesson we can probably learn from her is what not to do.

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