Haven't written about writing in a while. Have you noticed? It's not that I haven't been writing. I have. On this blog, on a book I'm writing with colleagues, encyclopedia entries, book reviews. But, I don't know, it's felt less scary lately. Less loaded. Less fraught.
Now that I think about it, though, that's probably because I haven't worked on a real, full-length solo academic article in a while. I had some stuff come out this year, and I've been co-writing a lot, so I'm kind of far away from a solo project.
Until today. When I start writing a new paper. That I've been thinking about writing for years. And all the old anxiety and ooginess just comes to rest right in my gut, creeping its cold fingers up into my throat now and then.
Here's the difference, this time (I hope): This time, I know I can get published. I've done it before, and I'll do it again, and even if I fail a few times, it will eventually work out.
Also, I understand my process a little better. Martha Beck describes it pretty well in The Four-Day Win (H/T to Nanny for recommending it), when she says that sitting down to write a book makes her throw up and pass out. Sitting down to write a paragraph is okay.
So, I'm finally sitting down today to begin to write the article on No Impact Man, whose book and film will be released next month. But I won't think about the article yet. I'm just going to write some notes, maybe a paragraph. Then I'll throw up and pass out.