Writing the dissertation has been a project in trying to figure out what works best for me as a writer. It’s not like I didn’t already have a writing process, but that process was built around fulfilling a certain number of pages for an assignment.
The dissertaion is the first project I’ve attempted that didn’t come with an assignment. Well, I suppose “write a book about a scholarly topic” is a kind of assignment. The problem with this particular kind of assignment is that if I wanted to write a book it might not be fiction, but it might not be about a scholarly topic. Okay, enough about the dissertation as a project, this post isn’t supposed to be a diatribe about graduate education.
It’s about figuring out what I need as a writer, and really coming to own that title. I might not be a writer in the way Tana French or John Connoly are writers, but I am a writer nonetheless, and I am a writer in need of a method.
Consequently a good part of the dissertation process has been trying to find a writing method that works for me. This week I’m giving scheduling a try. Instead of just knowing when I need to write and telling myself to do it. I’ve actually put it in my calendar. To make myself feel like I’ve accomplished something I’ve made some times that I’m already writing into appointments on my calendar, and then added some new ones as well. It’s an ambitious calendar, and while I don’t want to give myself an out before I start, there are some appointments I anticipate dropping already.
In addition to the calendar, I’ve set up a spread sheet to keep track of my word counts. I think that if I stick with this long enough it will work for me. My problem with word counts, however, is that they don’t really do to well for revisions, and since that is where a lot of my work is currently, I suspect I’m going to get frustrated when my word counts aren’t that good because in addition to writing that day, I deleted a lot of crap.