Writer’s block

7 Jul

It has now been almost one year since I finished my last class for library school. In those two years, I wrote numerous papers, not to mention essays, presentations, metadata schema, and even XML and XHTML code. Somehow, I still feel utterly unprepared to actually write a draft of a paper for publication.

I don’t think it’s that I lack for topics. I’m sure I could put together a written version of my presentation from CiL2010 that some publications would be interested in. A recent project which involved several groups within the ILR School could make a great case study of sorts: multiple potential audiences, collaboration between people with widely divergent skill sets, a new metadata schema, training webinars, content management systems. I just don’t know where to begin.

I am reminded of why it took me three years to write my masters thesis, and why I was so relieved that Syracuse didn’t require me to go through that hell again.

I’ve received some solid advice from folks, but this is me blatantly trolling for more. How do y’all start this sort of thing?


3 Responses to “Writer’s block”

  1. Ayelle July 7, 2010 at 10:59 am #

    Oh boy, I hear that. That was part of what motivated me to go back to school in the first place. I really need the structure, the deadlines, the “pressure to publish.” I’ve got a lot of stuff in the works, but what helps is that I have professors actively mentoring me along, taking a look at my drafts and giving me advice, recommending where are the most promising places for various pieces to submit for publication — and since they have busy lives, saying they really need to see my stuff by such and such a date. Keeps me from dragging my heels to much. Is there anyone you worked with on the CiL presentation or the ILR school project that you could ask to take a look at your work, to serve as a spur to get you going?

  2. Ken July 7, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    The best two pieces of advice I’ve ever been given on writing are: write what you know and simply write. I think we all shoot ourselves in the foot sometimes with self editing to the point that nothing actually gets written. So just start writing…you’ve got topics, just let the thought flow on to the page. Even if it’s just a precursor to a rough rough draft, it will get you going, and before you know it the whole contsructive process will kick in, and you’ll be on your way.

  3. Don "eruditus" Corcoran July 8, 2010 at 11:01 am #

    I struggle with this all the time. In my opinion its about good habits and setting priorities (although I am really considering hypnotherepy next). By creating a space to work and sitting to work every day you develop a situation where you EVENTUALLY you can’t not write. Getting there isn’t easy.

    I have two suggestions to start: For the over-educated I like to approach problems on a higher level, thinking about all the components involved in the problem I am facing A book called Thinking Write has been an excellent tool in understanding the writing mind and how to build better habits.

    Finally, get some accountability. Find like-minded people that have your best interest in mind. Have them ask you about your writing. Talk about what your writing. Maybe even share your writing with other writers, not only to get others to help motivate you but also to keep your focus on the task at hand – as compared to jawing about orcs or exploding dice ;)

    Good luck. I’ll be subscribing.
    – Don

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