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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Stealth (cont.)

The second day of stealth (june 22) went very well. I got up at 6:45, showered, brewed espresso and drank it, added eleven-hundred words to my document by 9 am. I am about half-way done, with the completed portions all in more or less "antepenultimate" prose. Most of that was copying and pasting salvageable material from a separate but messier document, but still, it needed to be done.

You would have thought that my chapter would have prepared its defenses a little better and been ready to put up a fight, but it did not. The aim of the "stealth attack" is to get a surprising amount of work done in a short period and thus gain leverage on a project. I recommend doing this on a chapter than is not very well developed yet and has been nagging at the back of your mind for a while. The next stealth attack will be on the chapter that I have least idea about right now.

The stealth attack is not incompatible with the idea that you should work regularly and slowly, producing scholarship by gradual accretion of days worked. I still do that too. It is simply a cognitive adjustment in which I reserve a few days for specially intense work and substantial, efficient progress. Perhaps I feel I simply cannot write the book without a few of these ambushes.

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