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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Writing to Learn - Reflective Journals


I want you to think about the journals as an opportunity to learn while you write. What do I mean? Well, if you want to hone your ideas, you need to express the ideas. In the world of librarianship and academia, that means writing about a subject. I use my journals and my blogs as an opportunity to ruminate about a subject and then analyze the subject, and finally to come to some conclusion about the topic that I want to share or explore. That’s what your journals can be for you.

William Zinsser has a great book Writing to Learn which talks about using the writing process to formulate theories and then hone them into usable ideas and debates. Ultimately you will learn “how to write – and think – clearly about any subject at all.”[1] Check out his book and see if the process works for you.  If you want something more fun to follow, Spilling Ink helps you start writing one word at a time.[2] That’s all it takes. The basic idea is that in order to write a polished paper or memo, you have to start with a rough draft. How do you get there? You start with words and ideas, shape them, revise, think, write, repeat. Your journals are an opportunity to do just that; think, write, revise, think, redraft, repeat.


[1] William Zinsser, Writing to Learn (New York: Harper & Row, 1988).
[2] Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter, Spilling Ink (New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2010).

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