Okay, Writing Power Writers’ Circle members, I’ve given us all some time in May to finish our April goals. (Sometimes you need just one more weekend, right?) How did you do? Let us know in the comments. We’re eager to hear.
Those of you who haven’t introduced yourselves, please join our intrepid band of writers today! All you have to do is introduce yourself and set some writing-related goals for the next month. So far, I have been amazed at how well public accountability works to shore up weakening motivation or to stave off that little procrastinating voice.
I am fairly happy with my progress: I have drafted my article. (I should note that I did use the weekend of May 2 and 3 to finish up.) It has since been marinating: I have taken a week or so away from it in order to get perspective. Now, I have to go back and see whether it’s any good. Gulp.
I have at least two other versions of this project floating around. One I completed several years ago for a graduate seminar, and the other is my first attempt at a rewrite. I am going to mine these drafts for useful bits, but I don’t think they’ll be very helpful at this stage. Even though they deal with the same topic, neither has the argumentative goal that my current draft has.
I don’t regard these two failed attempts as wasted work at all, by the way. Sometimes you can’t see a project clearly without going down a couple of promising paths that end up in dead ends. They help clarify where you need to go. Who knows, though: maybe I’ll find a usable sub-point. That’d be like finding ten dollars in an old jacket pocket. I don’t expect it, but you never know.
Over the next two weeks, I’ll devote some time to revision of this article. Revision is in many ways the real work of writing. In order to maximize my time, I am not going to look for large blocks of time to devote to it: it’s just not realistic at the end of the semester. Instead, I will employ my old dissertation-writing strategy: write a little bit at a designated time every day.
Actually, I will employ a scaled-down version of my dissertation-writing strategy: I will revise a little bit at a designated time four days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday). While every day would be best, this will be okay for what I need to do. I need to keep a portion of my mind working on the tasks of revision even while I’m shopping for groceries or going for a walk. This simply doesn’t happen if you only work on weekends (or less often). I need to get this draft’s problems straightened out pronto, so I need my brain working overtime.
Even though revision is so important, it’s possible to spend too much time revising, so that
revision itself becomes some sort of twisted procrastination mechanism. What I have to remind myself is that it’s never going to be ready. There’s always going to be more I could do. But a) I have to draw the article’s boundaries somewhere, and b) I need feedback from other scholars to keep my revisions moving toward a goal.
Thus, after two weeks of revision, I’ll send the article out to the journal I have chosen and move on to another project. After a couple of months (if the journal’s estimate is correct), I’ll have some feedback from peer reviewers. Best case scenario, the journal accepts the article. But even if it doesn’t, I’ll get some feedback.
So, there you have it. My goal for May. I look forward to hearing from each of you: what do you have going on in terms of writing, and how can you move those projects forward? Come set some goals with us.
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