I've had this experience many times: I gather material (and gather, and gather, and gather), but I feel like I ought to be writing instead—like, capital W Writing. As if my learning process is on par with a Netflix binge. As if it's all consumption with no possible future production.
None of which is true, but that's how it feels.
This week followed the pattern. I need new "about" pages for both my websites. So I read up on "about" pages, and it turns out what I currently have is not just out-of-date but is way off base.
As I read, I felt like I was just consuming. So I tried to write the pages prematurely, and my wheels spun.
But then, yesterday morning, having processed what I learned, I sat down and easily wrote solid drafts of both "about" pages.
Reminder to self: gathering information is part of the process, not mindless consumption, especially when working in a new genre or subject area.
my week in reading
This article on generosity (via Jocelyn K. Glei's excellent newsletter). It resonated with me on a personal level and more generally in terms of writing. Writing is a way to give yourself, share yourself, with others.
Academics sometimes forget that aspect of writing because we're often not writing ourselves explicitly into our texts. But even with the seeming distance from our texts, our written work still shares our brain power/insights/interpretations with others. Academic writing can be a form of generosity.