Thursday, June 21, 2007

Writing Projects in Process

When I initially posted the idea for the graduate compendium (which seems to be a big success-thanks everyone!), it was an excellent idea for procrastinating from the writing tasks I have in front of me, or rather, surrounding and swallowing me whole. The two main projects are fundamentally related: an article and a co-authored introduction which are both only partially in my field of expertise.

The article made its first appearance as a 12-page conference paper delivered last summer, the most productive writing summer of my academic career. It wasn't perfect, but as conference papers go, I'll go on record as saying it was pretty darned good. For this article, I took the conference paper apart, reorganized it, and bulked it up to about 32-pages. This is only a draft at this point, and I think it's pretty good as a draft, but I just finished that draft last Friday, about 2 weeks behind my desired schedule. Three readers currently have it: Willow (an amazing reader), a colleague on campus whose field is the other field my article engages, and my co-editor. It'll need to be finished by the end of the summer, and hat will definitely require some work.

The introduction is the piece that's currently paralyzing me, and co-authorship here may be a blessing and a curse--the co-editor has a very different process than mine. She drafts freely first, and cleans up later; I prewrite and outline and organize obsessively so that the first full draft is usually pretty close to a clean one. The thing is, neither of us individually is an expert in this field, although together we can cobble what seems to be a competent body of knowledge. Sure, I know more about this subject than virtually anyone in my immediate acquaintance, but no one in my immediate acquaintance would be a potential reviewer for the book. Still, while my individual article gives me very firm ground to stand on (even if some of my research is well outside my usual territory), the introduction has nothing to do with drama and performance studies, or at least, uses none of the methodologies of those fields.

We are co-presenting a few pages at a works-in-progress symposium late next week, and while it is a very low-pressure even, I am totally gripped about the process. Academic fraud syndrome is setting in hard, coupled with general writing anxiety. My co-author is a cool customer, but instead of letting her cool help calm me down, I am just worrying more that my writing neuroses are irking her. Sigh.

Oh, and I've got a book review due in 10 days--immediately after I return from the symposium. My last review was composed in a single sitting in my MLA hotel room, so I'm developing a nice little trend of writing book reviews while conferencing other work. Double Sigh. The good news? Well, if I can hit all of the deadlines of the next 10 days, then I've got enough time in the remainder of the summer to work through the rest of my plans--editing articles, revising my article, finishing the introduction, polishing up the book proposal for the (already very interested) series editors, assembling two new course preps...A cinch, really.

So anyone got any other major blog projects I could take on to help me procrastinate?

1 comment:

Sisyphus said...

Gosh, haven't you brought about world peace and solved global warming yet? You should get on that. Or something.