Friday, March 28, 2008

the psychological vs. the practical

I didn't really have much to say tonight. I felt like I only had old territory that I could cover again (not that I haven't done that usefully before). Tonight, at least, I didn't feel like that exercise.

I was thinking about my normal subjects and how I more frequently focus on the psychological aspects of writing than I do the practical aspects.

I suppose on one level this is because I assume that most people can master the practical through practice. On another level this is because I think that if you can master the psychological--if you can learn to control and constructively use your mind, then you can take whatever actions are necessary for mastering the practical.

The psychological provides the foundation from which all else grows. I suppose this point is important to me because I sometimes have people say "I don't have time to do that work." My thought is generally that that work is the most efficient thing that you can spend your time on if you're really interested in finishing your dissertation quickly.

I suppose another reason is that I struggled more with the psychological than the practical: for years I struggled, getting stuck on one little practical thing after another. But I finished in a whirlwind after the point that I started dealing with the little practical things differently.

Some people don't want to try to change their process because they think that changing psychological habits is too time consuming. But that is based on the presumption that change only comes very slowly and with great effort. Habits may change only slowly and with great effort; practices and behaviors, however, can change rapidly (however much effort it may require to create that new behavior--writing requires effort, so a change in behavior that involves more writing is going to feel like hard work, because writing requires effort).

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