Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Week in Writing, Day 2: À la recherche de l'écriture perdue

As I noted in an update to my previous post, my "Week in Daily Writing" got derailed early on: no sooner had I triumphantly announced that I had hit my goal, completed a section, and logged almost 800 words (including 350 or so from the weekend) than I, in a laudable attempt to Back Everything Up All The Time, managed to delete everything I had written. To make matters worse, I deleted the thesis statement that had finally come to me over the weekend, after wrestling with it for so long.

My reaction went something like this:


"Oh no." 



[dramatic pause/several fruitless attempts at recovery]


It was like that.  I missed the words less than I did the thesis. Because I have been struggling pretty hard with the "So what" question about these very neat documents, and I thought I finally had something.

Eventually, I came to two conclusions:
  1. Sometimes freeing yourself from old writing lets you escape an unproductive rut. [corollary 1a.: If I can't remember a thing about it, the thesis may not have ever been that great]
  2. I've lost some words, but it's not that many, and if I just sit around moping, I get to stay at zero.
So, this morning, though I didn't get up "early" as I wanted to, I did manage to write for over an hour, and knocked out the first 650 words... again.  I still don't know where I'm going, but for now, I'm just going to try to write my way in and see what happens.


Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. I accidentally deleted the entire final draft of my first essay during my Masters. It was finally finished and I was meeting my professor the next morning. I'd only met him once before and, effectively, I had to tell him I'd 'lost my homework' kind of thing. It was awful. And now I'm in the final stages of my PhD I live in fear of loosing my work and back up like a crazy person.
But, I think you're right - if you can't remember it after it's gone then it probably wasn't that important in the first place.
I had to re-write my masters essay quite quickly but the essay I wrote the second time was ten times better than the original that I lost. We always remember the important stuff.
Ps - I really like your blog! I've been reading for a while but I've never commented before.

Comrade Physioprof said...