Writing has never been my strong point! I struggled through school and college, just scraping by with what I managed to get down. Art college seemed OK for my foundation course, they didn't make us write crazy amounts and most of what I wrote about was on things I had an interest in. When I first went to uni in 2004 I had to do a few long essays and as usual, just managed to scrape through. I only lasted a year at uni the first time, not because of the writing or any other work. I just didn't feel I was in the right place to study straight away, I needed a little time to mature and focus.
After a spell of work I decided I wanted to return to study, getting a place on a Graphic Design course at UCA(KIAD/UCCA) in Kent. The course started well with good projects in the first year and only 2 essays that were only 2000 words. I managed pretty well with these, my lust to do well second time round at uni gave me more motivation to try hard with my writing and it paid off with relatively good grades, good enough for me anyway. The second year went much the same, good practical projects with some good grades, I shocked myself with my final project when I scored a 92%! There was only one essay this year but it was 3000 words, not too much more but it made me work hard, that was the most I had ever written at this point. The summer after second year I spent a lot of time on the road, traveling about and trying to get myself together after a few rough spells. This was great and I felt pretty relaxed once I got home. The only thing it didn't help was my reading list for my dissertation. I pretty much managed to avoid all reading(reading till recently has been one of my least favorite pastimes) until December, about a month before it was due in. After skimming through a few books, magazines and websites I found a few useful bits and pieces and cobbled together a plan for an essay that would explore the realm of public space, how public it actually is and the way that the public, more specifically, artists and creatives, use the space to highlight its importance within their chosen culture or way of life. I struggled to get straight into it so I made a skeleton of my quotes and points I was to write about and began filling in the gaps.
I found this way of writing worked for me as I tend to waffle if I have to write long pieces of text from start to finish. It seemed to take a while for the words to mount up, but once I got about halfway and over the brow of the hill, the words came easier on the ride back down. What also made things a lot easier is having a clever little brother who has already graduated who kindly helped me fix the last few little bits and get everything looking nice. The relief of pressing print after the final run through was amazing, I could literally feel the weight lifting off my shoulders. I felt quite proud of myself to have actually finished writing such a big piece, I had never really thought about how it would feel to produce something like this until it was over. It was a struggle but somehow I managed to get it done. However, I cant help but feel that the idea of such long essays being mandatory for someone on what is essentially an art course, is a little unfair and slightly unimportant to the subject being studied. I know there are many creative people who will disagree with me and relish the idea of writing their thoughts down in such a way, but sadly I'm just not this kind of person and to me, my course would benefit greater from something different, even a combination of a smaller essay and perhaps a work placement unit. Funnily enough I heard recently that some courses are scrapping the dissertation in favor of the commonly used research papers that accompany a practical project. Its just unfortunate that this takes effect the year following my graduation. Oh well, I'm done now and I can enjoy freedom from writing for a while, just have to decide if an MA course is worth the 1 million billion trillion word essays that I'm told they have to write.
Watch this space for some drawings and proper artwork to come soon...