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With the Bialosky scandal I realize that my memoir of reading poetry is irremediably academic, in the sense that, much as she think of hers...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mise en place (2)

In reality, I do not have a good "mise en place" for my own scholarly writing. I tend to just sit down and do it without worrying about whether I have everything ready to go. As a consequence, I have a lot of lacunae in my drafts that I have to fix later by going back and looking for references, quotes, etc... So my actual approach resembles that of Thomas more than what I recommended myself. Maybe I think that other people could not stand to do what I do, which is to master the subject so much that I can seem to fly by the seat of my pants. For example, my method of doing a peer review is to read the article one day, taking almost no notes, and then to write the review the next day, looking at the article only to find specific examples to quote or cite. I suspect most people would have to take notes, then work from those notes.

So I have a difficult time giving advice to people, because I am a different kind of writer than most. On the one hand, I feel that if I were really efficient and prepared, I would be an even more productive scholar. On the other hand, I can pretty much kick ass the way I am doing things now, so why change?

1 comment:

profacero said...

No, Thomas is right, first you do research and then you write, in which case you do not need every book next to you. People who do, write really heavy prose with hesitations and redundancies, because they are looking at books too much. You have to put things in your mind. Notes are great but having everything written down already before you write it is overrated (as the poet known as Homer might have said).

I do think it is worth having all materials in one place. For this reason I recommend always having empty shelf space, so you are in a position to move things around, group them according to current needs.