I have come to believe, that I am not alone in my writing anxiety and that it is a lot messier than we ever see or talk about. In a hopefully helpful book I have just acquired, “Writing your journal article in 12 weeks,” the author Wendy Laura Belcher likens writing to sex in 19th century Vienna…everyone does it, none talks about it, so I am helping to break the silence.
One thing I feel the least confident in, that is most critical to my career, is writing. I have many feelings and questions around writing and specifically academic writing. I enjoy writing (I think) although revising is tiresome. How does one ever create the magical, consistent practice championed in so many how to books and blogs? …and the deadliest questions of all are comparative in nature…how much is ‘everyone else’ writing?
So where does one go from here. The over-achieving, ever-critical, perfectionist in me quickly blames my ‘lack of results’, no first authored papers as of yet…wow that was scary to say, on my ‘laziness and undisciplined ways.’ However, pressure is one of the single greatest threats to creativity. In an excellent book, the “Slow Profressor,” authors Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber, suggest time pressure prevents accessing ‘the flow.’ You know, the flow, we have all been there. When you don’t even notice time and ideas, solutions and enjoyment even, of the task at hand just FLOWED. Being in this state is where we do our best, and most efficient, work. That it pretty freaking ironic.
So I really have no idea how to solve my (our) writing woes, but I am coming to believe it starts with intentionally creating space to ‘let it flow.’ So here goes…