The Dangerous Blog for Grad Students

A How-To Tale

“Closing My Eyes as I Speak: An Argument for Ignoring Audience” Precis September 9, 2008

Filed under: Precis — deduvick @ 4:21 am
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elbow-closingPeter Elbow

Many times I find myself closing my eyes as I speak before an audience.  The same practice could certainly be applied to writing.  Many times, we get so focused on the audience and it is debilitating and does not get us anywhere.  There are valid arguments for writing with the audience in mind, such as the worry that one would never write to an audience and thus not communicate as well, or the fact that writing would not fluctuate if it wasn’t written to a specific audience.  However, the point is that not everyone is ready to write to an audience when they first sit down, and most especially not to one that is overbearing and intimidating.  Instead, it may be best for the writer to simply write for him/herself and then go back into a revision with an audience in mind.  This may make for worse first drafts, but much better second drafts in the long run, after the author has gotten all the logistics and order worked out.  

Overall, we should work to improve (in ourselves and in our students) our use of private writing, our desert island writing.  This can help us focus our thoughts and ideas and get them out, even in a very messy way.  It helps us to become better thinkers so that we can become better writers.  It is an act of not just responding to what is going on around us, but what is going on within us.  

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