Posted in Learning, Writing

Writing challenge (Day seven) – Free choice

My mind is a blunt pencil.

Sharp pencils draw clear, precise lines. Lines of elegance and sophistication. Lines that are clean and crisp and sharp.

Sharp pencils generate delicate images/imagination/thought that evoke feelings of beauty and energy. Sharp pencils show subtleties, cadences and rhythms. They flit across the page, dancing from one well-drawn idea to another, making connections, drawing distinctions, bringing forth meaning.

Sharp pencils rest lightly and touch softly. They allow the delicate rendering of shadows and light, and their precision creates a final image in which it is possible to see individual lines/ideas/understandings while also seeing broader/deeper/richer meanings.

My mind is a blunt pencil.

Blunt pencils plod onto the paper, stepping heavily, trudging, stumbling, clumsily treading from one idea to another. There is no clarity with a blunt pencil, no grace, no lightness, no sophistication. The lines lack crispness and distinction and the final image is fuzzy and ill-defined. Blunt pencils don’t allow for fine detail, or for precision, or subtleties. There is no sophistication with a blunt pencil, no flitting, no dancing.

My mind is a blunt pencil.

There is no self-denigration here. Just self-awareness. No self-pity. Merely enlightenment.

When I read good writing, when I listen to others speak their ideas, when I hear clear thinking expressed crisply, when I see delicacy and subtlety in thoughts and ideas and words and images, I recognise that I am not like that. What is different about their knowledge, their ideas, their words, their thinking, their intellect?

They are sharp.

And I am not.

It bothers me sometimes. Not all the time, but sometimes. I am having a conversation with a colleague on a late night walk through an industrial wasteland in Melbourne and I say something that I realise later is blunt thinking, blunt expression, blunt intellect. I feel embarrassed for myself: for my lack of sophistication, my lack of intellectual adornment, my lack of knowledge, subtlety and delicacy.

I am writing a chapter and have only roughly drawn, fuzzy ideas to wade through, ideas that aren’t thought through to the end. I don’t make connections/distinctions/meanings easily or lightly. I don’t use sophisticated language that dances across the page. My ideas tread heavily; no tripping the light fantastic here.

I read others’ writing and it’s poetic and finely wrought. Individual strands of thought meander gently and smoothly across the page. I am entranced. I am reminded of why I fell in love all those years ago.

Sharp pencils draw clear, precise lines. Lines of elegance and sophistication. Lines that are clean/crisp/sharp.

A blunt pencil.


This is the final piece in the write a post about writing every day this week challenge.

I have been set a new challenge by Jill: How about spending the next blogging week writing each day about something you have learned, not from teachers or lecturers but those things you learn when you least expect to learn something and from someone or something you didn’t/wouldn’t expect to learn from.

I’ll put my (blunt) mind to it 🙂


I like to travel and take photographs. I like to blog about both.

3 thoughts on “Writing challenge (Day seven) – Free choice

  1. Mandy, I couldn’t agree more! If we, as online students, had to appear the way we present ourselves daily by submission or post in MYLO, lots of us would never get any work done! Presentation of the individual persona through friends or social networks, should be expected on a relaxed level. We all need places where we can be ourselves (even if it is doing uni work, in pj’s, at the computer, in the middle of winter!).


  2. I know you aren’t looking for sympathy in this post, so I won’t give it to you. However, I am empathetic. I do think though, that you sound very hard on yourself about the sharing of immature thoughts, those things we think about, articulate, but don’t necessarily get right the first time. There needs to be a space, a group of friends, and/or a social network of people, for each of us as ‘the’ individual to be able to put it out there. Therefore don’t be embarrassed, instead “keep moving forward”.


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