Being allowed to write spontaneously releases us of the expectation that our writing must be perfect and polished.
. . .
To summarise: blogging encourages spontaneous, timely and concise
expression of thoughts.
--Torill Mortensen & Jill Walker, "Blogging Thoughts: Personal Publication as an Online Research Tool"
I was a serious undergraduate and English major, but I still needed a kick in the pants to read or write consistently. In gratitude: Thanks to professor Gremmels for handing out little white sheets of "quiz" paper in the first seconds of American Literature so that I would really read Melville, Faulkner, Hawthorne, and Fenimore Cooper. I read voraciously because of those mini quizzes, just like I wrote voraciously because of course paper requirements. And even though the reading and writing were frequently forced, it was good for me. More than that, forced learning inspired me.
I had a nice conversation with a student yesterday about requirements, parameters, rubrics, word counts. He's a good writer. He wants to write. But he doesn't like constraints (he's creative and prefers looseness). I've heard this complaint (preference) before, but I never know quite how to address it. My go-to response (at least in my head if not said aloud) is that there are always parameters at work in our writing lives, even for creative writers. And for the most part these parameters are good for us.
But I can't help wondering, will this forced blogging assignment inspire (as intended) or discourage my students?