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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...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Breaking It Up

I'm about three weeks ahead in writing these posts. I wish I could find a place to hide out from my ideas for a while. They keep coming at me. I have more than I know what to do with. I'm talking about ideas for posts here as well as ideas for my actual scholarly writing.

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A large task can be broken up into several smaller ones. When I'm close to done with a piece I make a list of discrete tasks that have to be done. On the other hand, having too many small tasks can be overwhelming to, so in that case, I cluster them together and they seem easier that way. You can shift your perspective back and forth and make things a lot easier on yourself.

Finishing the article means doing tasks 1-10. Each is easy in itself, so you could do one very easy thing a day and finish the whole thing in 10 days! Rewrite the footnotes one day, tweak the concluding paragraph another, complete a short section on X another day. Once you start doing this, you can do 2 or 3 easy things a day.

But if your list is writing 10 emails, then group those into one task. "Answer email." Do those all at once.

1 comment:

Thomas said...

Just take a couple of your most trusted ideas out into the woods and ambush all these more disturbing ones.