Thursday, April 16, 2009

Writing is Fun/Writing is Hard

There has been a bit of blogospheric discussion that welled up and then died down weeks ago about the nasty truth that what we do is actually fun for many of us: writing critical scholarship does, alas, produce pleasure for the writer.

It also, like so many other pleasure inducing experiences (ahem) produces its fair share of anxieties. I'm working on a slightly overdue article which is a reworking of a short piece I began as a performance review, and then conference paper 3 years ago or so, and which is now expanding to cover more ground. I know the points I want to make, the background material I need to marshal in support, the textual evidence to cite. It's all in my head, and frankly, that part is the fun part for me: the discovery, the new idea, brimming with promise and brilliance, the Eureka that I know will add to the ongoing discussion.

The thing is, the kernal of an idea I could probably express in a page or two: a nice blog post, even. But real scholarship doesn't work like a blog post inasmuchas it is, well, work. Assembling those quotes, and the theatre history, and the theoretical underpinnings, etc. etc.--That's not even a tiny bit of fun to me: it's work. Which is why I have spent much of the last 12 hours NOT writing this article, preferring instead to hammer out a memo requesting Faculty Senate approval for changes to the English Major, and the acknowledgements page for the collection (I learned today that only the Brits--and I--spell "acknowledgements" with that second 'e').

The only thing I like doing less that writing up an article with no discover left in it is doing the works cited when I'm done...but even that has worked as a procrastination habit. Oh, and Proofreading, at which I am miserable--as this blog can attest.

So about the writing as fun/hard/painful/whatever...Writing to think is fun, but the writing down what I've already thought? not so much.

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