I believe this is true in all areas of life. The key is to find a way to make your weaknesses serve you. Jonathan Mayhew has a number of posts about taking inventory, establishing your scholarly base, and so on; if you’re not familiar with the concept, maybe you’d like to check out some of his ideas this week, and think about what your strengths and weaknesses as a writer are.
One of my strengths is an ability to write quickly. One of my weaknesses is trouble organizing an argument, or even coming up with an argument in the first place. These may not be exactly the two sides of the same coin, but they are related: I can easily produce a lot of verbiage that doesn’t really go anywhere, although it sounds plausible if I run it by you quickly, as in a conference paper. But coming up with an argument (beyond, “Wow, this is cool!”) and getting it organized, this is hard, slow work for me (not least because I don’t always know a good argument when I have one).
During this intersession, then, I’m trying to harness the strength to make up for the weakness. What the MMP really needs is a strong framework to support all its details: an overview of the fields where this research matters, and a clear statement of how the MMP contributes to these fields. I made a list of the topics the MMP might contribute to, and I’m using the writing-quickly strength to produce around 500 words on each of the topics. Sometimes it turns out that I have more ideas than I thought I did; sometimes I just come up with questions that I can’t answer without doing more research. But if I can identify the questions sooner rather than later, that’s a good thing.
So: can you use the idea of making your strengths serve your weaknesses, or turning a weakness into a strength?
Roll call, based on the latest info I have from you all:
ADM: finish grading, then get Rewrite.
Contingent Cassandra: 3 or so short writing sessions per week.
DEH: Last week’s goals were to work 2 hours a day and do three 500-word directed free-writing sessions.
Achieved: work was intermittent because of illness, but I have done three 500-word directed freewriting sessions (actually 545, 624, and 604 words). They were supposed to be on particular topics, but kept drifting back to my central questions, What can we tell? and Why do we care? I’ve come up with new questions, whose answers (when I find them) may help with the central questions.
New goals: one library day (check out books, consult reference works), another day or half-day if possible before Wednesday (then the library will be closed till January). Read and take notes on at least 3 books/articles. Start working on an outline, using the format that worked for the sections-turned-chapters of the Unexpected Book.
Digger: finish schoolwork by 20 Dec. Then, finish the Why Wheels chapter.
EAM: lit review.
GEW: I’d like to read 30 pages of primary text and and freewrite for 15 minutes at least four times during the rest of the week. In addition, I will decide which texts to take with me on my trip (space is limited!).
Highly Eccentric: at least 1/2 a day every day to finish a chapter by 3 Jan.
Ink: finish grading. Then revise previous novel chapters, write two new chapters, put in two hours a day.
Luo Lin: make plan.
Matilda: finish encyclopedia entries, 2 hours a day.
nicoleandmaggie: finish a draft.
Profacero: at least 25 minutes of work by Monday night.
rented life: finish grading. [For 2-week break: 44 hand-written pages (small journal sized pages) that need to be typed up and then I need to compile it with what I already have written and see where my (fiction) project is going]
Sapience: finish re-reading my primary texts (14 novels total, 10 to go) and outline the rest of my argument.
Sisyphus: find/collect everything I need for the article and pack it. And refresh my article to-do list.
Sitzfleisch: complete academic book proposal due in January.
Theologoumenathon: lit review for my next project.
Trapped in Canadia: read and review one book and finish the book chapter about my mob. My goal is to write two hours a day, but three hours would make me super happy.
Waytogohomesteader: write a page a week.
Zcat: goal for week one is to write 500 words a day.