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Darren H

Writing is hard

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In high school and college, people told me that I wrote well—I took these compliments as permission to coast by, assuming that everything I wrote was good to go in first-draft form.

This has also been a struggle for me. Unfortunately, I can't un-know that under the right circumstances, I'm a competent writer. That's not to toot my own horn -- it's just that the language & literacy practices I've been immersed in from a very young age match my aspirations very well. I can pretty easily churn out something that looks pretty good. But it's that leap from "pretty good" to "publishable" or even, I don't know, "great" that I find troubling.

I just got a brutal peer review back from the first major academic paper I ever submitted to a journal -- it was a paper that passed muster with my professors and that I reworked for months, but one of the comments (aside from the other more substantive ones about the content) was that one of the readers noticed a typo on the first page. Yeeugh.

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I just got a brutal peer review back from the first major academic paper I ever submitted to a journal -- it was a paper that passed muster with my professors and that I reworked for months, but one of the comments (aside from the other more substantive ones about the content) was that one of the readers noticed a typo on the first page. Yeeugh.

Higher education high-five! My adviser gave me some brutally honest feedback on my MA capstone project, and I really am thankful for that. I think The Old Jason was coming through at some point; I assumed that since I had spent months writing the capstone, and that I had actually had multiple drafts, it would be amazing. It was good, but not great.

I'm starting to really value this sort of brutal feedback (from people I know, at least). I've learned over the past few months to make sure my wife proofreads my DVD reviews each week; as a foreign language teacher, she has an exceptional eye for weeding out my grammar and stylistic mistakes, especially the batch that I always seem to miss. She also does a nice job of saying, "Look, I have no idea what you're talking about." That might not be the answer I want to hear after pulling my hair out for a weekend, sure, but I know I'll be glad in the long run.

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