lunes, septiembre 26, 2005

Writing creatively and software environments

About a month back I got a "getting to know you" email from a couple of friends (to which i failed to respond for several weeks) and one of the questions was

Do You Keep a Journal?

At the time, my answer was NO, but I also realized that I do a lot of personal writing in email to friends. So I've been extracting some of that out into a journal of sorts and this blog.

I had been thinking for a while that I need to write every day, to develop the HABIT of writing.

So lately I've been using MacJournal, which is a great way to journal and then if you want to post it to your blog, it's a snap. I had tried a couple of other programs...

Current, I think is powerful but clunky--you have to learn all the new terms and conventions. Which for me meant sometimes I lost stuff and other times I had to save it in more than one place, which was inconvenient enough to make it NOT a habit. Something about the blog posting was also weird: i think maybe it was like queuing mail rather than sending it--and the time lag would make me crazy enough that I would keep trying and then end up with double-posts. I might still use Current for comments on student work, but it's not really clicking for me creatively.

What I was looking for was software to help get me writing and thinking. I mean, obviously, I could just use Word, but I wasn't doing that, was I? So then I was thinking, maybe Word is too associated with work for me, and I needed to create a different space for personal/fun/creative writing.

(I did write my play in Word, but I was in a dramatically different physical space. I would immediately print it out, then take the print out and read it aloud and make edits on the sheets, and then go back to the computer. A very different rhythm of writing than my writing for work.)

Tinderbox is very fun and cool for a different kind of thinking: more like an Idea Roundup (rodeo style). I've used it for plotting out future research (book projects, article ideas) but I still don't think I'm really using it to its potential.

MacJournal is totally Mac--like using Mail or iTunes. And since, as I said, most of my thoughtful writing has been going into email, it's been kind of an obvious solution. And it posts to Blogger with the click of a button. (Now, if I could just hack the Taco tool, so it would give me inspiration from relevant sources--not Homer Simpson and Shakespeare--then I would be in heaven)

Moodle is the new teaching software I'm learning. I've used WebCT and D2L and learned just a teeny bit of Blackboard. SFSU is switching over from Blackboard to Moodle--

(which they insist on using under their own brand-name, iLearn, for no real rational reason. Just typical university-corporate branding, like when OSU branded their D2L system as "Carmen.")

--Moodle is not at all like Mac software, but it does have great pedagogy driving it, so it does create lots of possibilities. For some reason, I'm hesitant to use the forums to their full potential--I think because in my mind, I'm still equating them with 1990s listservs.

Okay that's more than enough on that subject! Let me get back to Gardens in the Dunes, because I'm on the first Sister Salt and Big Candy chapter, and those are my favorites :)

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