Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blogging the scholarly writing process at Georgetown

Carol Fungaroli Sargent at Georgetown's Office of Scholarly and Literary Publications is blogging her writing process as she works through Wendy Laura Belcher's book Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks. It's good stuff. Here are some samples:
  • "Writing doesn't have to take long. We only ask for an hour a day, although you can give it more if you're so inclined (a typical Booklab faculty member with a family does between 1.5 and 2 five days a week if a project is underway, and adds weekends only if it is due). Just that small commitment can yield more than most professors ever produce, and it can easily result in two articles per year and a book every two-three years."

  • "One of our authors read in a book that you should 'touch your work every day,' meaning that you should keep the project you're writing in a place where you can find it, and you should sit down to visit the work each day even if only briefly, in order to move things along. I completely agree with this. Some days it feels as though all I can commit to is opening the computer file, but once I begin then the body in motion does truly tend to stay in motion, and often I keep writing. Science is cool that way."
  • "3. No matter what happens, I will keep this commitment every day, and I will submit something, however poor and miserable, on the 23rd. This is writing as bricklaying, writing as plumbing, writing as a regular-person job. Artists take commissions all the time, and this is my commission."

    Z said...

    Excellent post and all true. It is so much easier to get into if you touch it every day. For one thing. And you then don't have to be in the right mood, or feeling fresh, or whatever, if say at the outset you're only going to put in an hour and you don't have to accomplish much, just accomplish something.

    Ink said...

    I can't think how it goes exactly, but someone (Flannery O'Connor?) once said something about her job was to be at her desk every day in case the idea came along. And then if it did, she was there for it.

    That idea helps me get to my desk when I don't feel like it. :)

    Anonymous said...

    Some writers leave off writing deliberately just when they're on a roll and a high so that they have something to look forward to the next day and can't wait to get back to it! Colm Toibin for one ... and John Banville said sometimes he might only write ten words in a day but that's ten more words than if he hadn't written.
    They both write by pen in cursive script initially.

    Maeve Binchy, when she was working full time as a journalist, used get up at 5.00 a.m. and write until 8 a.m. each morning. She kept all her materials on a tea trolley under the stairs as she had no study at that time, but this little device ensured she didn't lose time or thought looking for stuff.

    Irrespective of genre ALL are agreed it is essential to keep in touch with your script on a daily basis.

    Good motivational post Undine. Many thanks ...

    undine said...

    Z, that sounds like a good mantra. I hadn't thought of it as "touching" the work, but it's absolutely easier if you do.

    Ink, I'm adopting Flannery O'Connor's idea (if that who it is). Of course, my job apparently is being a doorman to cats, judging from the number of times I jump up to let them out every day, but maybe an idea will slip in there.

    Anonymous, Hemingway used to do that, too; I didn't know that modern writers did as well. "Ten more words"--there are days like that for sure.