On Celebrating the Little Triumphs
I created this blog a month ago with every intention of completing weekly updates. This is my first post.
There is a pressure that every writer feels when composing a first blog post, a first novel chapter, or an intro paragraph to an academic paper… These firsts set the tone for the rest of the blog or book or study. This pressure is why, in my academic writing, I compose introductions last. This isn’t so much an option in a blog.
I’ve spent a month tossing around ideas for a first post and have come up with nothing that I find worthy or exciting. Should I do a post on The Vampire Diaries series before the first movie comes out? (Missed the boat there.) Should I write about why I occasionally read YA fiction and why that’s TOTALLY Okay? (I’ll probably do that eventually.) Should I write about the woes of graduate candidacy and things I’ve learned about myself? (Like you could escape that!) I couldn’t decide, and I despaired.
After careful contemplation, I realized that this could continue for weeks to come and that I should just bite the bullet and put something up on the screen.
So these are my thoughts for the week:
I’m a dissertating graduate student. Academic writing, for me, is often an exercise in blissful self-deception, frustrated procrastination, exasperated rumination, and finally frantic, panicked, 5 a.m. writing. It’s not a good process, but it seems to be mine for the time being. During the rumination and writing phases, I spend a lot of time composing sentences and paragraphs that, frankly, suck. They don’t make sense. They have almost no relation to the reality of what my study is supposed to be about. And they’re boring.
Then, once or twice a session, I compose something really smart. Something that uses everything I know and rolls it into a little bundle of happiness, light, and utter brilliance. These are the triumphs that I am choosing to celebrate today.
Too often the process of academic writing is an isolating, depressing business. I’ve been dejected for months, alternately planning my backup career as world-famous web comic artist (never mind that I can’t draw) and hiding from my (wonderful) adviser for fear that she’ll ask to see what I’ve written.
But I want to graduate. And I want to start my career proper. So I write and I celebrate the triumphs by dancing around my living room in my pajamas and singing about my one brilliant paragraph of the day.
Because this might just get me back to the keyboard.