Friday, July 23, 2010

Article Progress!!! Huzzah!!!!

Today I made very important -- really breakthrough -- progress on my article due. . .way too soon to be mentioned. At the start of today, only a third to a half of my note mess was cut up, labeled, and then put in like piles. But today I determined that I was going to set aside three hours to transform the mess of notes into something else. Now, it's a paper-clipped and ordered collection of cut-up notes awaiting transcription and working over into my outline. So far, I have two single-spaced pages of my outline. This is excellent progress. Not just for this one day, when this project sprang to life from being stalled, but also because the next set of tasks are completely known quantities and so will be easier for me to do as well as dip in and out of. It's true that, as ever, I'm having trouble with organization because everything really does lead into everything else in a sort of web, yet I'm writing a linear article. So the next work is not completely mindless or anything -- I certainly do need to pay attention and make decisions -- but it's not daunting or not as daunting as all the work seemed when I woke up this morning.

Here are some notes about my process for this article that I think are weird and so worth noting:
  1. This is how I used to write my papers in college and Grad School Part 1. Even in high school. Ultimately, I would end up writing a very complete outline (in complete sentences and with plenty of support often just breaking out of the outline into transition sentences between paragraphs even) and then revise the work while I was typing it into a file (or a word processor, in high school). I would get to the outline by putting together a lot of notes or, for grad school, a list of page numbers and post-its. (I learned the benefit of writing one's notes in a single file from my comprehensive exams and dissertation.) It used to be I just couldn't really write on the computer -- or on the index cards foisted on me in high school. Now I seem to be going back to that, using writing on my yellow tablet to make hard decisions, and still using a mix of more tactile creative strategies with the revision into a very complete outline.
  2. Much stranger than the pattern by which I seem to work (now that I think about it, I did a lot of cut and pasting, moving things around, and then revising them as I moved slowly through what was there, adding and reworking things in the dissertation as well) is this silly fact: I typed all those quotes into my notes, right? So those quotes are in a file already. But even of the work I've already begun typing and revising in my outline, I notice that I'm just typing the passage again. It actually helps me to be really grounded in the point, making my own explanations clearer. You'd think I'd typed it once and would just go to the old file to find the quote, but no. It's actually faster -- and more involving -- to type it. Weird.


Renaissance Girl said...

i love ALL tales of progress. this is great!

Anonymous said...

Great news! Yay for productive writing sessions. That book, _How to Write A Lot_ talked about how "writing" every day doesn't mean actually busting out sentences, but simply being with the project intellectually, which includes reading, taking notes, brainstorming/outlining, and even (I imagine) paper-clipping!

Kudos Absurdist!

undine said...

Good for you--great progress! I've done a lot of that kind of reworking/retyping with the current project.

And now the timer tells me that my 5-minute blogreading break is over and I have to turn off the internet and get back to writing.

rented life said...

Yay for progress!! I do my writing the same way. It's really helpful.

huitzilin said...

What a relief to see that others also type and retype their notes/quotes for articles. Seriously.