Progess is being made. In case you’re wondering.


(image credit: Microsoft clipart)

I want to go on record as saying that I have, as of now, completed 5 chapters equalling about 65 pages of writing on The Paper, despite breaking my “Seinfeld Chain” more times than I care to admit. (It’s a DMA thesis, so it doesn’t have to be the Massive Intimidating Tome a PhD document would have to be.) And now I’m getting to the fun part, where I get to actually start analyzing my pieces, since I spent the first 5 chapters setting up the theoretical stuff that makes the analysis possible. I’m now at that awkward point of waiting for my adviser to get back to me to say, “Great work, it’s absolutely perfect and revolutionary and will change everything in musical scholarship as we know it, you rock, girlfriend!” so I can keep writing.

(No. He won’t say that. In fact, I’m fully expecting heavy revision, which is why I’d love to hear something before I head into heavy analysis, because if the foundation of the first half of the paper doesn’t stand, there’s no point in building on it.)

I continuously am blown away by how much longer academic writing takes than anything else I’ve ever written. There is no flow, no stream of consciousness, because  every damn thing you say has to be backed up and cited, and I’ve more than once spent probably 40 minutes researching something that in the end boiled down to a single dependent clause in the paper. But I had to do it, because I needed the dependent clause(s), and without the research and citation I couldn’t say what I needed to. Slow. Slow like snail. Fiction writers with writers block can move faster than this. Ugh. It’s frustrating.

But…It’s coming along.


  • Zippy Lewis

    Disciplined writing is a slog. My rule was: write stingily, no adjectives, short sentences. Then go back and take out the adjectives that snuck in somehow. The amazing thing is it reads better. As Hemingway from birth I bet.

  • chickwithastick

    Oh no, you have to let me keep my adjectives! (I’m in an artsy field, after all.) What I DO do in the edit process is de-adVERB everything, and unqualify (However Ontheotherhand Notwithstanding Aswell Moreover Etc.) countless dependent clauses. I think Stephen King was the guy who came down strongly against adverbs, and it really does strengthen the whole product.

    For the moment, however, I’m going with Anne Lamott’s method of the “Shitty First Draft.” That is, just write like crazy and get it all out before trying to edit it down into something much more economical and clear. So for the moment my prose is pretty rancid. It’ll get there. 🙂

    I’d forgotten there is an academic journal article author in the family! This is hard. I’m much happier writing pragmatic nuts-and-bolts big-picture-for-beginners things, it’s way quicker and more immediately rewarding…

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