Apparently even pictorial cat blogging loosens the writing mojo; I now have an outline for the essay that’s due at the end of this month. That is, on Friday.

Once I have an outline, the actual writing usually goes very fast. I can cut and paste chunks of my early figuring-out-what-I’m-saying, and where I need to write new material it’s clear what I need to do. The outlining, though, that is a trial. Getting the argument made clearly, with all the pieces in the right order, not overwhelming the main point with extraneous detail (but really, you need to know this about medieval sermons to understand my point about romance conclusions!), including a suitable number of quotations and making sure they actually contribute—this, to me, is to writing as grading is to teaching: the part they pay us for.

But now I can get on with the good part.


2 thoughts on “Outlines

  1. Would you perhaps be willing to write a bit sometime about your outlining process, what kind of outline you use, how it morphs as you write, and so on? Does your argument change as you write? Beyond the barest sketch – a half-page list of works to cite and ideas to incorporate – I ‘ve never really written an outline that worked for me. I’ve never known how to think except by writing — it’s not until I’ve got several thousand words on a page that I truly know what to say about whatever it is. Really writing, I mean, in fully formed sentences with punctuation and paragraphs and stuff. That first drafting process, for me, that’s what they (barely… okay hardly really at all) pay me for — it’s the revision where I get, well, visionary. But I’m willing to give this outlining thing a whirl, if I can learn it.

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