Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More on Writing: I Wanna Do More of It!

I was rereading the terrific and varied comments on this post and wanted to respond, but when it got super-long, I figured I better just write a new post. (You all rock, dear great readers! Rock on!) But it's been so interesting to re-read all your comments now after a week where I really wanted to work on research and so I did in weird odd hours.

I read once that the key to writing with kids at home (I think this was a stay at home mom) was to pull up the file and keep it open all day, so that you have that sense that you're still working on it, but that you were pulled away from it and will get back to it.

Now, I didn't do this exactly (I usually have tons of things open on my computer, so having a file open doesn't really exert the tug on me that it should), but I did have this sense that if I had a few spare minutes I wanted to use it to read and take notes on an article, do another library search and request stuff from ILL or even, one exhausted evening, type up my handwritten notes (which is a must for me) into a file.

What I think works about this strategy is that they are all short assignments, little almost modular pieces I can work on and then leave. In fact, in the idea-generation phase of scholarship, it's even better if I come to the work many different times so I get different perspectives and ideas.

This tends not to work as well when I'm actually trying to draft the damn thing, which is usually a terrible battle because I have to figure out how to organize the piece. This part really needs the kind of focused effort that requires a longer session. And then I might try to organize it multiple times until it feels right or at least okay. It's so tempting to not even think of this researching-and-taking-notes phase as writing. Except that it is, and I know it. But this is why I never want to say "I'm writing scholarship"; it's always "I'm working on scholarship."

Anyway, what I noticed about this engagement with working in little bits was that I was much happier and more fulfilled on the days I got something done on the research front. I think I've finally really grokked that research IS the way to tenure as well as the option of moving elsewhere and that I've got to do it. But I think there is something else going on too: I just like what I'm doing.

So it was weird for me to write a blogpost that said I probably can't write every day, then find myself stealing moments to write/work. Since Friday (when I stole some moments at the Corporation, if you can believe it!), I haven't done diddley-squat though because 7am is really really early -- and that's the time that AL has to be at work. And also I'm finishing up the quarter. And Tot is sick. So: no time to even dream about research. Okay, I can dream about it for two seconds before I fall asleep, before Tot starts crying to come to our bed. . .again. Poor guy. Poor us.

I'm going to bed now, because I'm an awful person, a really bad example of an attachment parenter: after a few nights when Tot needs to come sleep with us, I absolutely relish being in bed without him, able to stretch out, able to sleep in any position I want. Off I go. Good night all.

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