Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Year, New Me (?)

So one of my "New Year's Resolutions" is to stop making resolutions that I don't follow. I will probably never be a person who can write extensive posts on the blog every day. The very idea of saying "I will write before I eat breakfast or do anything else, and I shall do this everyday" makes me cringe. Whenever I think about that part of the Writing your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day book I move immediately to indignation. "You can't rush writing," I think to myself "I write when I am moved to do so -- I do not write on command." I also don't do much in the morning before breakfast and at least one cup of tea. Usually two. Or coffee.

Then this morning, after a friend from college left *absurdly* early to take a test for a fellowship, I started reading some of the blog posts I've missed over the past few weeks. Lo and behold, my dear friend and colleague Marina had a post up over at Ink and Incapability that was of particular interest to me, a weary wanderer in a strange dissertation-filled land of revisions and vague fear of not "doing justice" to Beowulf, the topic of the chapter I'm currently writing. Entitled simply Write!, Marina's post is downright inspiring. It reminded me that although I love the creative aspect of writing and the thrill of getting "in the zone," I really need to set aside the time to do new writing every single day, or the dissertation really will never be finished.

So I made my tea, I sat down at my computer, I turned off my internet -- and I wrote until I had two full pages. I didn't know what I was going to write, but as it turns out, I appear to have something of an introduction to the chapter on Beowulf. Even more interestingly -- the last paragraph outlines the four aspects of the text I want to address. Meaning I have a way to go forward. Finally.

All that goes to say: Thank you, Marina!


Kári said...

I need some of that. I am now at the point with this paper where reading is actually a form of procrastination.

And besides, in my experience, the only way to get in the zone is to go there.

Mary Kate Hurley said...

Isn't it funny how reading can become a way of putting off writing? I've been doing that with Beowulf, too. There's so much out there I "need to know" before I start writing. And, of course, there's a century and a half of criticism (!) to help me.

Sarah said...

I killed that _Writing your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day_ author. That's like saying "how to fly a space shuttle tomorrow!" which is just mean. ;-)

(Although, when I did used to such things, I would put all my work materials on my bed--before bed, and did not move out of my bed--in the morn, until I had written or done x-amount of work. But that was mainly because I figured out the hours I worked best at: which happened to be pretty much around the time I woke up.)

Sarah said...

PS: There is this problem.

Mary Kate Hurley said...

Sarah, you are SO right. Often the only way I can get work done is to turn off my internet connection and not touch it until I'm done.

MKG said...

You're very welcome. It doesn't work every day, but it works more days than it doesn't. And only writing when I want to, means I never want to.
Funny, that!

Anonymous said...

That's really awesome..great job..keep going..

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