Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ebb and Flow

Some days are more productive than others.
Some days I repeat myself.
Sometimes I just don't feel like I have much that is original to say at all.

Sometimes I reassure myself that I don't need to say anything original if I can find something interesting that someone else said. Sometimes I don't particularly want to do the research to find something interesting that someone else said about writing; although I read about writing frequently, I do not constantly read about writing.

Sometimes I wonder about the pressure we put on ourselves to work, and I wonder whether I work hard enough. I have mixed feelings about what sorts of expectations to have with a writer: do I push them to finish in a fixed time? My perspective has been to push people to develop a good relationship with the work--one that is more resistant to the ebb and flow, because even in the phases where making progress is relatively difficult, some progress is made. But to the extent that such a focus also aims at changing the person in a fairly profound way, I sometimes wonder if I ought not push more aggressively toward completion. I wonder if this is what distinguishes me from the aggressive, go-getter types who seek to actually be a professor.


Sarah said...

I think your role will vary based on your clients needs. When I first contacted you, I was in complete isolation and felt very lost in my project. I don't feel as lost as I did then. While I still need motivation and dialogue, I also feel I need to be held accountable to some schedule and goals. Now, I need more of a push to keep to that schedule if I'm going to get this dissertation done.

Dave said...

So maybe the amount of pressure is related to the momentum the writer has going: when things are moving, then it's time to set goals and deadlines. But if the writer is stuck, the aim is more to get unstuck.