Make An Inquiry: June 23, morning

How much of the composition process is individual and how much is socially-mediated?

I’m asking that question right now because I’m visiting the LA Writing Project Summer Institute this week, and one of our norms is to open each day with 20 minutes of uninterrupted writing. I opened up Evernote and started to write a blog post about Make An Inquiry; this is pretty standard for me; when we do this free-writing I usually have a particular piece of writing in mind that I want to work on (last summer, for example, I did a lot of work on my essay on Gay’s Lion Farm).

However, CLMOOC was at the back of my mind – all the posts on Google Plus & Twitter that I saw yesterday but didn’t have time to respond to because I was at the LA County Museum of Art for the last performance of the late Chris Burden’s last work, Ode to Santos Dumont. (Okay, I was also streaming the US v. Colombia game on my phone, but I was still at the museum.) I also noticed that Kim Douillard had added to the Google Doc for Make An Inquiry that I started, but I didn’t have a chance to read it more than cursorily.

Out of curiosity, I decided not to look at all the communication that I needed to catch up on.

Of course, everyone’s writing is informed by their context; I’m not making any revelations with that statement. But I wonder how much my writing changed when I “disconnected” from the CLMOOC community for these 20 minutes? We give “on-demand” writing assignments “to see what students can do on their own” – but are we attempting to measure something that can’t possibly exist, if context is inseparable from composition?

I’m going to post this right now (9:30 am Pacific) in the spirit of Working Out Loud. I’ll come back to it later to edit and/or add links.

UPDATE: Links added along with minor edits (8:13 pm Pacific)


3 thoughts on “Make An Inquiry: June 23, morning

  1. Hi Michael, I read this earlier today and was going to comment but got distracted! I like the idea of 20mins of free writing each day; it sounds like a good way to establish a writing habit…and achievable too. I think the ‘uninterrupted’ bit is important too – we live in such a world of constant distractions, it’s kind of nice to give yourself ‘permission’ to turn off and focus on one thing – it almost seems like a luxury these days. I have been trying to be more conscious of turning off distractions – to be more ‘present’ in ‘real life’ f2f interactions. I have the feeling it is important to ‘turn off’ when writing too.
    Also, you reminded me that #CLMOOC is on and I need to check the hashtag!

    1. Hi Tanya, thanks for commenting! You’ve raised an interesting point about “turning off.” I’m starting to think that I might want to take a day away each week from the various CLMOOC sharing spaces to reflect on everything I’m learning. I have a feeling that stepping away for a moment might make my sharing and interaction more meaningful.

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