Sunday, April 02, 2006

Writing my Appellate Brief

For those of you who don't know, first year law students have to write an appellate brief. I personally hate writing the thing. It makes my brain hurt. When I start writing it, I feel like a deer who looks into headlights and freezes. Then I stop writing and waste my time playing games on Yahoo!. Later when I realize I have wasted precious time, I feel stressed out and anxious, but if I try writing the paper again the same thing happens.

I think I know what the problem is. I hate having to write something organized- something bounded not by my own thoughts, but by facts and ideas others have created. The appellate brief is just basically saying: My guy shouldn't be guilty and here are all the old/dead dudes who back me up. The flow of your paragraphs is not from how your mind thinks, but logically formulated to lead the reader to the conclusion that a. you know what you're talking about and b. your dude shouldn't be guilty. I like to ramble, to come across the ideas from the side, and briefly cover them in my ramble through the subject matter. Like a frolic through a daisy field: you come across daisies and pick them, but you are having lots of fun wandering through the field, enjoying the view. This doesn't work in most writing. I usually get marked down for organization. The only english assignments that I do well on are the ones you are suppossed to ramble for- like character sketches or talking about how you feel. In high school we had to write for the high school proficiency test. We had to write about a couple papers we submitted- talking about whether they were any good, and how we felt about that. Ok- maybe not how we felt, but I just rambled on about how horrible my papers were, and what I had done wrong- figuring honesty was the best policy. I KNEW my papers weren't any good, and didn't see the point in futilely trying to defend them. Anyway, long story short, I got a 5, when the best writiers in my AP english class all got 4s. They all sat there and stared at me like, "we know you suck as a writer, but you got a better score . . ." I thought it was delightful. Of course, in high school I didn't know why I sucked as a writer, becuase none of my teachers bothered to tell me that I couldn't organize. It wasn't until this semester at law school, my teacher wrote a bunch on my paper and pointed out that my thinking was pretty good, but my orginization sucked and it was draging down my ability to think, and explain my ideas clearly.

So now I am trying to be super organized. And it is making my brain hurt.

p.s. I realize this post will get rid of the beautiful picture of Christian Bale, so I am going to put another picture of a cute guy on. I realize not everyone who reads my blog cares about pictures of cute guys-- but I use my blog too. It has lots of useful links, that I use sometimes.

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