Writer’s Block/Endless Perfectibility

It’s been over a month. That’s a long time. I tell myself that writing is this ridiculously daunting, time-consuming task, and yet I know that that’s not true. I type text messages that are over 300 words in length, I send emails that go way over that, and I come to my blog and just write and write with complete abandon. In the time that I’ve been absent, I have been drafting a chapter of my thesis. I’m still working on that draft. The process is tedious and drawn out, and yet I really enjoy the subject matter that I’m engaging with and the ideas that I’m teasing out. So why is it taking me so long? I usually have an optimum working output of around 1,000 words a day, and I can do much more than that when I put my mind to it, but this draft seems to be resisting my efforts to bring it into line.

There are endless reasons why this might be the case. It may be that

  • I am not taking enough breaks
  • I am not working to a plan
  • I am working too rigidly to my plan
  • I am not creating enough variety in my working schedule

Ultimately, though, I’m pretty sure that none of these reasons explain the current dip in my productivity. It is much more likely that my problems are in actual fact caused by the writing demons that lurk in my head – the demons that tell me that my work is not sophisticated enough, or a point that I’ve made is not articulated clearly enough, encouraging me to go over and over the same paragraph until I feel that it’s close enough to perfect. I read over that paragraph a week later, and, realising it’s still not perfect, continue bashing away at it.

When I come to my blog, or send an email, or even a really long text, I am able to write and write because, in each case, I am able to explore a different train of thought. These platforms also allow me to develop thoughts that I am struggling to conjure into life in my academic work using a different narrative template (my last blog post was one such example of this.) I know that my best writing is my freshest writing, so I must attempt to kick those demons into touch by moving onto new ideas, and new paragraphs. The solution may seem simple, but in reality it takes brutal dedication to follow through; after all, having spent half of the time I’ve been writing this very blog post editing it, I know that I’m not infallible…

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