Maybe it's the insufferable heat of August...

...or maybe it's the fact that school's about to start, or that Mercury is in retrograde, but whatever it is, I am in a funk. A writing-induced funk.

I've spent the last two years researching zines by girls and women, and I've spent the last three weeks trying to write an article about this subject. At first I always feel like I've forgotten how to write and that, unbeknownst to myself, I've actually already written the last good thing I'll ever write. BUT I recognize that that's neurotic, and I thought that if I sat at the computer long enough, I would come up with some good ideas. The first stuff to come out is crap, of course, but if I kept at it, I'd hit the seam and hardly be able to keep up with my fingers on the keyboard. Well, that hasn't happened, and today I came to the conclusion that I've taken three weeks to produce 19 pages of crap. Which, of course, makes me fear that I was right to begin with and I have, in fact, written the last good thing I'll ever write.

What am I doing about this, other than whining on the blog? I've taken some positive steps: I'm going to make Deandra read what I've got so far. I've asked some colleagues to start a writing group with me. And I think I might take a break and try writing something completely different, like the essay that's been churning around in me for some time, called, "Abortion: A Love Story" (now THAT'S provocative, isn't it? You can't wait to read it! Well, it doesn't exist yet, so hold your horses.)

Editor's note: I realize that I promised some Katie-bar-the-door blog action re: greenhouse gases, but obviously Katie hasn't had to bar any door. This is because Biffle is working on his thesis. I'm sure he'll snap out of it soon, though, and get back to ranting here.


Charlie said...

My somewhat less provocative but equally snappy and nonexistent essay title is "Taipei Personality."

Kenneth said...

If "Abortion: A Love Story" isn't a great title, I don't know what is. The thing writes itself.

Wish I could offer some writing tips, but as you and I both know, writing sucks.

Cate Bush said...

Positive writing thoughts coming your way!


Matthew said...

I personally can't wait fot that essay. You should definitely write that first.

Whenever I have trouble writing I read Ginsburg. Then I drink. And cry a little. Maybe you shouldn't do that.

The Dad said...

Yea Alison

I have written a bunch of technical papers that start with a huge pile of data. Sometimes the research and the collection of data has taken over as the focus of the work. When it is time to write the paper, the flow or thought process is obscured by all the facts.

A few things I have used:
1)Do you have a major point of the paper... (Both yes and no are good answers)
If you say Yes, maybe that needs to be rethought or set aside for awhile.
If you say No, maybe you need to solidify your thoughts to the end or summary of the paper.

2)Do something else completely for a few days but keep a note pad handy. As your subconscience mind works, thoughts, ideas or directions can pop in your head. Write them down as sort of an outline.

3)See if you can write or think out an opening that explains what you are trying to say in the paper. You know the old paper direction statement - "Outline what you are going to say, say it, then summarize what you have said."

All these steps and the ones you mentioned are great to get everything moving. It's like all the water is behind the dam and as soon as you put the first crack in it, the water (or ideas) flow out so fast your fingers can hardly type fast enough. (simile or metaphor)

Or... maybe if you come home to your roots, this is going to make writing easier. Yea... that's the ticket... writing is easier in Cookeville.

The Dad

The Mom said...

I like how you think, the Dad...Alison, do you need to have this done before Fall FunFest??

Anonymous said...

Write one sense that surmizes your point and then create a paragraph around that thought. Look from the point of view of an outsider. "Why should I care about this topic? Why is my point of view good or bad?"

Try stream of consecienc style ala Jack Kerouac.

Start by writing a poem.

I have used all of these techniques and today I am a nationally known writer and a multimillionarire.

(puts fingers in ears) la la la la la la la la la la la la