February 22, 2009

Impaired By Wordiness* and Helpless in General

I know verbosity is my downfall. You don't think my entries are so long that nobody reads them sometimes? I know. I do. I use the delete key. Really. You should see my posts before I use it.

This is the week that I have to be a good team player in my grad class. In every class so far, there are always two assignments with my "Collaborative Learning Community." It's kind of a joke. I think we're suppose to actually talk to each other, but mostly we divide and conquer the work. This week my share of the work was to analyze this research study, and wouldn't you guess it? It's too long!

I admitted it when I posted my part (a little late), "Hey guys, my article was longer than I remembered--50 pages! I know the analysis is a little long. I'll take any suggestions to pare it down!"

Brown-Noser Woman replied, "I focused mine on blah, blah, blah rather than what you did in yours. The instructor asked us to keep the whole paper to 3500 words, and I think we should or we might be marked down."

I did what brown-noser #1 did, of course, but I used details from the article and the textbook to illustrate my points--quite eloquently, I'd say. And by saying the instructor asked us to do anything specific is a load of crap. It's in the syllabus, which I am sure exists with or without the instructor. What are you afraid to disappoint the teacher?

Do-Good Girl replied, "HappyChyck is ther any paragraps that we might be able to take out from your analysis? I read it over and it all sounds good but I don't have the article in front of me. I think we should try to keep it under the requirements."

I would normally ignore the abominable errors, as I know I need an editor, but I toiled over my part for hours, and I think this would be a good time for someone offer up some better insight, but that won't happen since we only read our own studies. Yeah, let me just take out some paragraphs. Thanks for the help. No, really. I'm probably better off without it.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the articles the others analyzed. Their studies were a maximum 12 pages compared to my 50 pages. Much easier to write a short analysis on a short study. I'll keep that in mind next time.

So, I took the delete key to my analysis. I started with paragraphs--or half paragraphs. Then I took out any unnecessary adjectives. I reworked sentence structures. I summarized in places where I originally gave details. I cut out information I thought was important but maybe we could get by without. After the first 400 words, I thought maybe it was a better paper, but after that, with each deletion, anxiety attacks started. How could I submit such a terrible paper? Was the instructor going to know how much I was leaving out?

Finally, after 900 words deleted, I quit.

It feels so wrong.

This is one of the definitions of verbosity from Merriam-Webster. Ouch!

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