Wednesday, October 17, 2007

how to write

Writing graduate seminar papers was always a three-step process. 1. Conduct research. 2. Several days of misery and paralysis. 3. Write paper, trying to adhere to a rough schedule (write x pages over y days, then revise).

I'm about to write a dissertation. My previous method isn't going to work. Partly, I know this because it just plain feels different: I'm not miserable all the time. Instead, I'm suspended in a state of readiness: I know that I could start writing at any moment. Instead, I read blogs, write email, look for/read more sources (and the research part of things is in no way over; it's just that I do have things to say now), practice, swim, cook large amounts of lentil soup.

So I'm going to shake things up a bit, try to give myself a bit more structure by waking up earlier than I have been (this morning involved 8? hits of the snooze button, by god) and writing first thing.

Anyone have a similar experience, in having to change your writing process for different genres/lengths/modes of writing?


Chaser said...

Oh, absolutely! I crave having a routinized process for writing papers, and it has just never worked out that way for me. I find I have to change up a lot of things--the process, the materials (moving from typewriter to pencil to computer). It makes me crazy, but the constant process chaos is the only way I get any work done.

SK said...

YES - My literature review is SO BORING that if I don't go to the library to do it I think it won't get done. On the other hand, when I go to the library, I forget to bring some of the sources I need, so parts of it don't get done anyway. This is why I hate comps.

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