Monday, July 21, 2014

On Using Tools and Slogging Along

Oh, if only there was a magic pill that we could take that would make writing easy, that would allow us to become deep and analytic thinkers each and every time that we wrote.  Or, perhaps some tool that puts it all together, that pushes us over some metaphorical "top" and allows us to be as productive as we wish, with of course minimal effort.

But alas, there is no magic tool. I am working with a group of scholars at my university for the summer on writing productivity. We are all using a word count spreadsheet in Google drive; we put in our daily word counts, and make comments about our work.

Frequently people have left comments about how hard a particular part of their writing is, and how they were not able to add a great deal of words on a given day. In their notes, I can almost feel their disappointment when they have a "slow day." Perhaps, they were only able to write 50 words. Sometimes, it is because they were not having a good day. At other times, 50  words actually represented a fantastic day. In fact, any day you write is a good day.

One scholar noted how she was slogging through some writing, and found a way of conceptualizing her work so she could actually finish a paper she had been working on for a long, long time. Even though she did not get much writing done, it was through this slogging that she found a new insight that allowed her to put it all together. Hard days, easy days, fast days, slow days; they all add up.

No tool is the perfect tool, and no day of writing is perfect. Yet, finding ways of slogging through each day, day after day, is what it is all about. That is how a career is built.

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