I’ve carried on with the activity of actively waiting in accordance with Boice’s Advice for New Faculty Members that I’m blogging about this semester. And I’m preparing for trying Chapter 10: Begin Writing Early.
More below the fold…
I mentioned to a colleague that I was trying to follow Boice’s exercises, but that I was being blocked by not knowing what to do during my periods of “actively waiting.” She had started reading the teaching section (as Lab Cat also did), and found ideas there that parallel the idea of actively waiting to write. Advocated, in fact, is (p. 24):
- doodling and diagraming
- free-writing, or talking to yourself about some of your thinking out loud
- congratulating yourself about how you’re starting this early and not waiting until the last minute (ok, I’m paraphrasing here).
So I’ve been practicing this every so often, as I’m waiting for a student to come to an appointment, or before I head out my office to a meeting or class. And I’m finding it rather refreshing – I’m spending a scosh of time thinking about a writing project or two I know I would otherwise be ignoring or avoiding, and instead, I have a couple of outlines to play along with! I feel I’m making progress!
So, then, perhaps it is time to move on to Ch 10, on beginning writing early. ‘Cause even if I am feeling undeservedly virtuous about making my paper’s outline, I sure as hell am not feeling ready to tackle my “proper” writing.
Boice suggests starting with pre-writing, which he unfortunately likens unto foreplay, a metaphor I only find distracting in the context of writing. Specifically, he suggests just getting some ideas out on to paper, without really thinking too much about it, without judging it, without needing to be confident about what you’re writing. He again suggests talking though ideas out loud or writing little notes to yourself about what you MIGHT write about, and try to see the writing project more holistically. Hold back a little, he says, from moving out of this pre-writing stage too quickly. Spend more time outlining or switching ideas around in different orders. Carry on with more free-writing, that brainstorming of the writing mode.
Okay, Boice. I’ll give it a go. Maybe I’ll even end up with a plan for this paper before the end of September. Maybe.
How about those of you playing along at home? How are you doing? (Please also go read Jane B’s post about how she’s doing, and share your posts below, if you’re blogging as we go.)