Saturday, May 1, 2010

Grindstone, end week 1.

My goal is modest: write a paragraph a day. That's the goal I set while dissing with an infant, and it worked for me. A paragraph, after all, is usually close to a page, and it requires a good few hours of work to produce. This model allows me to make measurable progress every day without lapsing into self-hatred for not workaholically accomplishing everything in two weeks. And it keeps me from brain-exhaustion, from working beyond sharpness. And if some days I get on a roll and do more than one paragraph, then I'm ahead.

But as I begin this last body-chapter (that is, I have still to write the intro chapter, but that must come last), I am confronted by how little I know about Herbert and the field of Herbert studies. I mean, I have spent so many years working on my other guys that I know the field of their criticism pretty well. But I've only recently realized that Herbert does, after all, play into the topic of this book, and merits a chapter. And I'm clearly a decade behind on him compared with those other guys. So I am writing that paragraph a day--which means that I'm nearing 4 pages now--but these paragraphs are very hard-won. They do all the contextualizing for the chapter, and that's requiring me to read a pile of material very quickly. I'm feeling unprepared and daunted, and not at all authoritative enough to write this chapter.

But then, I don't have to write a chapter. Just one paragraph. And then, the next day, another.

1 comment:

Lexy and Jared said...

You're an inspiration. I've been dragging my feet to study today, and now I've got the juice to do it.