Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Helpful Insight From a Fellow Blogger

It is uncanny how helpful reading blogs can be to a person. I've been putting off the moment when I will stop looking for more and more and ever more sources for a new chapter I want to add to my book and will finally start writing. The search for sources took so long that I have now completely forgotten what I read in the sources that I had found at the beginning of this protracted search. When the summer holidays began, I decided to inaugurate them with yet another search for sources. In the meanwhile, I kept congratulating myself on how hard-working and productive I was being.

And then, as I was browsing through some older entries on one of my favorite blogs, I saw a very short post that seemed to be directed at me personally. It said something like this, "Stop reading already. You have read everything you need on your topic. Now just start writing." 

"Hmm," I thought. "This kind of makes sense." So this morning I woke up early and finally started writing. And I already have 491 words in my new chapter. That doesn't sound like a lot, but it's more than I had written during all that time I was searching for sources.

I'm thinking of ordering a poster with this beautiful insight and sticking it in front of my desk. These three short sentences probably encompass the best piece of advice one can give to any academic.

1 comment:

profacero said...

I heard this from birth. I am not sure who it applies to. The assumption seems to be that people read too much and don't write. I like writing a lot more than I do reading, though. I'm not good at the sedentary life and would rather be roaming around interviewing people, or doing an archaeological dig, than reading. For something to do while sitting, writing is more physical and so I like it much better than reading. What's hard for me about writing is the imperative to do it without reading enough.