- Location matters. I tend to take Tuesday nights off from all other obligations, go to my favorite bar, grab a table in the back, and just write. Usually, I do pretty good. This Thursday, though, I was writing that damn article there, and I was struggling mightily. I kept getting bound up in distractions...more so than normal. It didn't help that three people with the loudest voices in history sat at the back of the bar and chatted (i.e, yelled at each other) the whole night.
- Writing scholarship is slow...and when I say slow, it is glacial. During three hours of writing at the bar, I finished three paragraphs and had vague plans for the rest of the afterward. Keep in mind that I had a rough outline and all the research done already, and you see what I mean by slow. The weird thing is, when I told my good friend/the pinhead who got me into this in the first place how much I accomplished, he said (quite genuinely, I might add) "but that's good...that's really fast."
- When one starts writing, one begins to take a real interest in everything except the actual article being written. Today, for instance, I found myself making an increasingly elaborate lunch. Why? Because it was more interesting than going back to the computer.
- When I write, I am pathologically looking for distraction. When I was two sentences away from finally putting the article to bed, I found myself on Twitter...then on Facebook...then on Digg Reader. And when I say two sentences, I mean I already knew what I was gonna write. I was just more interested in doing things other than writing them.
- Academic writing is essentially a land where feedback is deferred...that is, if it exists in the first place. I wrote an article on the TV show House, M.D. which was published in 2010, and to this point, it's only been cited three times (and two of those are in some other language, so I have no idea what they thought of my piece). Other articles I've written have received no feedback at all. I've gotten too used to getting some kind of reaction from my creative endeavors to go back to a writing genre where one might have to wait years to get reader opinions.
However. I am also certain that, without said work ever yielding tangible benefits, I will never do this again. I get a certain amount of thrill in seeing my ideas to be both valid and somewhat innovative. I get a certain amount of thrill from being able to write them down with pretty good results. However, none of this is really worth continuing in light of it being irrelevant to my job/career/identity. Do I want to do more research, or do I want to write a song? Do I want to write another article, or do I want to play with my daughter?
Barring someone just straight out giving me an endowed chair of something professorship, the decision just really ain't that hard.