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)