I started the day by deciding that I should set up my new printer. Even though I don’t really have anything that I absolutely must print. I mean, obviously the ability to print is a positive thing, but I know what I’m doing. I’m engaged in the activity that is known as Not Writing. I’ve been engaged in this activity for about 24 hours.
Not Writing sort of sucks, as activities go. It basically means that whatever it is you’re doing you can’t actually enjoy, because whatever it is, what you’re really doing is Not Writing.
The fact of the matter is, I’m really ready to write. But I’m at that point in my process where I feel like it’s all in my head so the prospect of putting it down onto paper seems boring. I’d much rather, quite frankly Not Write, because there are surely more interesting things I could be doing?
What really needs to happen is that I need to spend a couple of hours making an outline for the chapter I should be writing so that I can break the task of writing down into 5-10-page chunks. It’s easier to convince myself that writing isn’t painful when I think in chunks of that size, as opposed to in chunks of the length of a chapter.
So. That will be my task for the day. I’ll type up all of the content-notes I’ve got, and I’ll print all of that out. Then, I’ll settle down with my primary source texts, my Box of Research for that chapter, as well as my Binder of the Next Book that I’ve been compiling the summer. I shall organize all of those materials, and I shall use them to construct the Outline of Writing Goodness, an Outline that shall allow me to produce a sloppy draft of this chapter by month’s end. (Because ultimately, my goal is this: by sabbatical’s end to have a sloppy draft of a beginning, a middle, and an end – though potentially with hideous gaps – of this book. Sure, from there it will take me at least 1-3 years to revise, but if I can have a sloppy draft, then this sabbatical will not have been in vain. (There’s also the fact that I have one article to polish up for publication as well as another short article to write and to submit by January, so, really, Not Writing is NOT an option.)
(Discussion still continues on the first installment of the Higher Ed series – but I’m going to do other posts in the meantime between that series anyway.)