Thursday, February 8, 2007

Writing Question

You know the literature (or enough of it).

You've resigned yourself to the fact that you cannot read every word on every issue that may come up in the chapter you're writing.

You have an outline-a brief one on paper, an absolutely brilliant one in your head.

So, why is it so hard just to sit down and write?


Abby said...

Because now you have to CREATE something, something that is going to be judged by others and, at least for me, that threat of judgment can be pretty stiffling. And there's just all this blank space looking back at you and so many places that you could possibly begin.

I'm trying to remember to just get something DOWN. I can always try to fix it later.

But that's of course very easy to say, much harder to do.

chris said...

b/c if it was easy, everybody would do it.

well, maybe not everybody. but more probably.

elle said...

lol, chris

abby, yeah, my advisor tells me, "quit being a perfectionist" and mentioned to another committee member, "i have to pry each chapter from her hands."

but i want it to be BRILLIANT!!

Abby said...

Of course you do, but brilliance can come in stages. Remember that brilliance is rarely the result of some sort of divine inspiration; it's usually the result of lots of feedback and revision. Don Murray (and, I think, Anne Lamott) had a sign in his writing office that read simply "Let it be shit." You gotta start somewhere, you know?

Suzanne said...

Yes, the brilliance can come with time. Now your only job is to get the ideas on paper so you can sculpt and polish it later.

I have a note on my mirror that says "It doesn't have to be good, it just has to be done."

Various ways to psyche yourself out: "I'm just writing notes" (or an outline, a rough sketch); "I'm going to write the worst draft ever!"--that sort of thing. Try to lower your expectations.

And here's a joke:

Q: What do you call the grad student who barely squeaked by her defense with a not very polished dissertation?

A: Doctor.