It might be unedifying to admit this, but I quite like writing essays. If there’s a topic you’re interested in, and you have an angle on it, there’s great satisfaction in picking apart the details, putting together a coherent thought and understanding the world a little better.
During most of my undergraduate degree, however, this wasn’t quite how I saw it. I was very much a 4am deadline day kinda guy, and having done the IB, the essay-under-pressure came quite naturally. However, towards the end of my second year, I began to recognise that I both wanted to and had the ability to do better so started to put the effort in properly. And you know what happened? The essays I sat down and devoted time to were always worse than the ones I slung off. Much, much worse.
This was both baffling and immensely frustrating. It means I couldn’t grasp what it was that made my work “valuable.” When it came to my Masters essays and scripts, I spent a lot of time working them through, thought they were all terrible for the most part, and found out I was mostly wrong. How can you write something when you have no gauge as to how good it is? What I’m writing at the moment has been the easiest in terms of generating material. That’s been coming out like the old 4am essays. The presentation of that material has been the part that’s made me pause and consider. Hopefully this will foster a previously inconceivable (for me, anyway) synthesis between wrighting and writing and lead to my best script yet.
I already think it could be quite good. Which is, of course, a bad thought to have….just while the others have felt mostly intellectual exercises, this one feels visceral. Every page I write feels cathartic, and will probably stop me banging on about certain subjects. More on that tomorrow, but while I’m here – congratulations to the CSSD MA Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media class who are handing in their dissertations today. Party long into the night and attempt to regain your sanity.