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09 April 2010 @ 01:49 pm
the dangerous ailment of bibliophilia!  
I don't appear to be receiving comment notifications, and perhaps you aren't either, so while I think I've responded to all the comments I ought to have responded to, this might not be true, and if it is, I suppose you might not know that I've responded!

Anyway. I'm off to the library to pick up books I shouldn't. I wish I didn't feel so much pressure/desire to have to do everything at once, because it mostly results in nothing much getting done at all. For example. I have a new project in mind--just a short one, a potential article or something (because I could really stand to have some of those). It is not at all prudent to be thinking about these sorts of things when I have a dissertation to write, but I still want to go do it anyway--partly because it's new and exciting and I don't know yet what I really think about this new thing, but partly because I feel like I have to start doing the reading right now simply in order to be able to write about it in the future. I have to start the mental stew, which takes a long time for me. Once I know what I think, the writing part, marching one word in front of another, isn't *too* hard--but arriving at that point takes ages, during which very little writing happens (aside from journal notes and blog posts, that is--which I do think are an important part of the stew-making process).

Same with historical fiction (the research part, anyway, since I haven't written any): the reading isn't for now, but for years from now--but if it takes that much time to learn a subject well, then I should be reading a little bit about everything now! About anything I think or know I might want to write about someday! And on and on. Focus gets divided, I accomplish nothing. I've been working on the dissertation the same way; instead of focusing the reading on one chapter at a time, I've been scatter-shot about the process, trying to get a sense of the whole thing by dipping in here and there.

I need to be better about this--only I'm not sure how.

How do you all do it? Or maybe you don't have this problem at all?
 
 
 
La Reine Noire: Wimminz!lareinenoire on April 9th, 2010 10:30 pm (UTC)
the reading isn't for now, but for years from now--but if it takes that much time to learn a subject well, then I should be reading a little bit about everything now! About anything I think or know I might want to write about someday! And on and on. Focus gets divided, I accomplish nothing.

I have a similar problem, actually. There are so many different subjects that I want to know about but there is just no way for me to get into all of them because they are completely disparate (i.e. the First World War, the Second Crusade, fifteenth-century Milan). I just do my best and take an excruciatingly long time to write anything. ;)
tempestsarekind: very few dates in this historytempestsarekind on April 10th, 2010 09:18 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to know that I'm not alone. :) Because the topics I'm interested in tend to be all over the place, too, so there's no real cumulative effect. Oh well. I guess I'll just have to buy more books...
Gileonnen: Dates and Citationsgileonnen on April 10th, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC)
I have a similar approach, although it usually doesn't take me very long to start barreling through history with all keys tapping. This is why I'm so paranoid about writing historical fiction--because while I do obsess over the tiniest detail (what sort of fabric was used to make pallas in ancient Rome?), as soon as I have it, I immediately want to use it.
tempestsarekind: viola readingtempestsarekind on April 10th, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC)
I think that a part of my problem is that it takes me such a long time to read history, and I don't retain nearly as much as I'd like--all the more reason to have started yesterday, last week, last year.

On the few occasions I've attempted to write something with an historical setting, I make it a few pages in, at most, before I run smack into something I don't know, and that shuts down the process. It's highly annoying.