Have you ever had to follow your own advice, when you don’t want to, because you will look hypocritical otherwise? In the last Round, I wrote my inspirational post about not disappearing, even when you have fallen off the wagon, which is an apt description, since I should stand up to proclaim, “My name is Elizabeth, and I am unable to stick to goals and timetables,” much like in an AA meeting.
Yes, I have had reasons to disappear. My brother ended up in the emergency room last Monday with pneumonia. His oncologist thought he’d have to operate last week to ease his breathing, but by the end of the week, my brother was breathing better, pulled off the “nuclear war” antibiotics, as he put it, and the surgery has been slightly postponed.
Also, I’m up to my nostrils in the blogging course, and have some draft posts in the hopper. I’ve been doing a lot of housekeeping of electronic files, paring back an overgrown inbox, planning for the arrival of my new boss in January, who will want to know what I’ve been doing with myself these last eight months. I have entered the full marathon of new committees and supervisory assignments as well. One task force meeting was two hours away, and lasted from 10:00 to 3:00, effectively torpedoing one work day. I’ve been working assiduously on the article based on my Pierpont Morgan research trip.
However, I’m just not feeling much of anything this week. Flat, hollow, meh. The topic of the week for the academic writing group was whether our writing is an ally or a foe. One of the participants, Z, gave a compelling description of writing as “a prisoner of war.”
This image struck me, because writing has always been my ally, my confidante, my friend, something that understood me when my colleagues did not. Perhaps because I have worked in many non-tenure-accruing environments, I have always been a bit odd in enjoying writing, since many of my colleagues chose such positions in order to avoid writing. In my current day job, I have quickly become known as a “great editor,” when I am really just a bit more practiced and efficient in my writing, and abhor institutional doublespeak.
Even among graduate students, a group that one would think would embrace writing, I’ve known many bright, engaged, thinkers who lost themselves when handed a compass and a canteen and told to journey forth into the great Dissertation desert. Some, if not most, of their failure is due to mentoring or lack thereof, but there are many who just discovered they didn’t enjoy writing.
If I am honest, I have often thought of my writing as Cinderella, something that is largely ignored, forgotten, sitting in the ashes of the fireplace, but hard-working and able to shine if given a bath and some attention. However, I am guilty of pushing my writing back into the fireplace as often as not, complicit in keeping it ignored and dull. I fall far too easily into the “It’s urgent, it must be important,” trap, as well as cancelling appointments with myself, or shorting goals because others are always more important than I am. I should not be surprised that Cinderella sometimes refuses to work with me, sulking in the corner, or worse, picks up the poker and cuffs me upside the head with it.
I commit myself to being a better sponsor for the rest of the Round; I commit to spending half an hour a day writing something; I commit to re-acquainting myself with Cinderella.
The end of the Round is nigh; please go encourage someone in the group. The blog hop link is here.