Saturday, June 06, 2009

Buckling Down Sucks

It is a beautiful, gorgeous, sunshine-y day outside, and I am chained to my computer writing an article I don't know how to write that is, as far as I can tell, going to be an embarrassment to me as well as to the collection of which it will be a part. I am not feeling hopeful about my ability to turn it into something other than a steaming pile of crap.

Why didn't I just go to the pool today?

I'll tell you why: because I need to get this thing done. Once it's done, I can go to the pool every single day guilt-free. Or even if it's not done-done, but just a complete and polishable draft - that would be good enough. But I cannot have fragments of notes, no structure, and all of the bits and pieces of nonsense that I currently have. I have a whole paragraph of rhetorical questions, people. This is not good writing.

You know what the problem is? I don't know how to write about shit where there is like NO criticism of it already. I mean, sure, that's what makes this probably the most important (ha!) work I've ever done - it will be among the first pieces of criticism about this thing. But seriously: how does one write something with any scholarly merit when you're just blabbing about reviews in Entertainment Weekly and crap? JUST HOW? And how does one not be derogatory to a TV Guide critic who said something that just doesn't make any sense at all about exactly what you're writing about?

I know I just need to do this thing. I know that it does not need to be perfect, or even very good, at this stage of the game. But it's difficult to keep working on something that you have come to decide is the most ridiculous thing you've ever attempted to write. (And yes, this is more ridiculous than posts on this blog in which I write in the voices of my cats. At least those are funny.)


abbagirl said...

you know, often when i feel like i'm trying to write on a topic that feels utterly ridiculous, it often ends up being MUCH better than i thought. it's as if, by realizing how ridiculous the whole attempt is, it just makes you work that much harder on covering your bases and making it not come off as ridiculous as it otherwise is!

i never was good at finding an angle, in writing a critique, that no one else has thought of before, either. but i have no worry that you'll be able to get it done just fine. i wish you the best of luck so that maybe tomorrow, you'll be able to get out there and enjoy the sun with nary a care about ridiculous papers!! :)

Janice said...

I hear you! I wrote a chapter on history and the newest incarnation of Battlestar Galactica for an anthology that should be out in the next year. It was a stretch and a half but at least there was a lot of genre criticism in which to ground my argument.

At least when your chapter draft's done, you can go to the pool guilt free!

Susan said...

I was going to say something like what Janice said -- isn't there genre criticism, or work on other similar things, on which you can draw. People are writing about X phenomena, even if not the precise X you are writing about.
Then maybe you can avoid TV Guide critics :)
And go to the pool!

Sapience said...

Isn't that what theory is for? So that if nothing else has been written on your topic, someone out there has said something that is somewhat relevant that you can use as a launching pad for what you want to say?

BrightStar (B*) said...

This is probably not helpful: I think it's interesting that the reviews and commentary on and the print version of Entertainment Weekly are so different, but I don't have good language that helps me think about the differences between them.

Doctor Pion said...

You are writing a critical analysis of something that's been reviewed in Entertainment Weekly and TV Guide?!

Get snarky! Write about those reviews in the voices of your cats.

Then get serious.

Or send in the one written by the cats. (There is a semi-famous physics paper in a major journal that was co-authored by a cat. It can be done. The cat's autographed copy of the paper is even included in a book.)

life_of_a_fool said...

I have nothing useful to say, and I am also having trouble getting motivated and buckling down.

I really want to read Janice's article.

Dr. Crazy said...

The good news is that I've got what I think is 8 solid-ish pages, and about 4 more pages that will find their way into the final product. In total, I've got 19 rough pages, though I'm sure about 5 of those are total shit, though who knows? Now that the opening is done, I'm feeling much more confident, and seriously: I don't really care if this article sets the world on fire. I just don't want for people to read it and to think, "oh, wow, this is a steaming pile of crap." I think we're heading out of that range, but only time will tell. On that note, though, I'm going to bed. I need rest, after this treacherous day.

helenesch said...

And since no one has commented on the missing-the-awesome-pool-weather aspect of your post (I can relate to that!), I'll add my thoughts: The good part of it being early June is that we're guaranteed to get more nice weather soon... Seriously, I feel more obliged to get out and enjoy the weather when it's a rare day of warmth in the late fall or early spring.

Glad you made such good progress! I have to write pages of crap first, and then it usually gets much better when I cut it down.

GP said...

Good on you, though, for sticking with it, Crazy -- I'd have left the steaming pile for the pool long ago. Soldier on; we need the inspiration!

Bavardess said...

Hopefully after a good night's sleep, you'll find the article is actually in better shape than you thought.