The writing release
I recently had a powerful writing release – one of those moments where you feel you have passed a threshold and you are on to greater achievements.
Heba, the co-founder for Caesura called me up and asked if I wanted to write a paper with her in response to a recent Saturday Night Live sketch spoofing Hip Hop Pedagogy in the classroom with Lin-Manuel Miranda called the “Substitute Teacher”. The show had aired on October 8, 2016 and I think Heba called me within a week. She had also spotted a conference taking place at the University of Ottawa where we could share our work. The submission deadline was mid-December 2016. We had two months to prepare this paper.
With this, Heba and I set up a writing schedule. We drafted a paper, assigned sections to each other. We collaboratively developed a research method to respond to the SNL sketch critically. Heba, has a thing about working with participants – she has her own ethics of practice in research, maybe she can write about it on Caesura someday – so we became the participants for this paper.
We decided to create three questions, answer them separately, then respond to each other’s work. We set deadlines and word counts for all this work, and by early December, we had a full paper. Needless to say, it was an exhilarating experience. I had written a paper in two months! Immediately after finishing the paper, we submitted it to a journal and we are waiting to here back, but you can read the abstract for it here.
To put things in context, I had been working on another paper at the time since January – over nine months!! It was taking forever. It was slow, uncertain, choppy. And I was very frustrated. This opportunity Heba offered me was a wonderful chance to just throw myself into writing. She showed me how to have an idea, and set it free. She highlighted the importance of momentum in getting ideas out. The experience changed my feelings towards writing and gave me a boost in confidence. Now, I know my writing still needs work, it will probably take a long time to perfect (if that is even possible). But I feel a certain sense of inhibition has lifted and with that I can take the first steps towards actually becoming a writer, a researcher, a thinker, all the things I need to be to become a successful academic.
Writing has become a liberating experience rather than a daunting one.