Writing makes feels…

So obviously I haven’t been updating.  My office recently disappeared into the dark recesses of grant preparation, an ugly ritual in which I learned the joy of updating citations at 2AM with no sleep.  I think I made them better.  I don’t think I changed any of them to “can’t sleep, clowns will eat me.”  But I can’t guarantee it.

And then the government shut down and none of the grants submitted are being processed.  So yay for that.

I also can’t deny that there are times I find updating this blog more difficult than others.  When I’m stuck on my personal blog and feel bad I haven’t updated recently, I just repost pictures of cats or gifs of sloths (like you do), but I feel that’s slightly out of place here.

As some of you already know, I’m in the process of revising my thesis – a rather massive process, in my case, as my examiners requested some fairly substantial changes to the focus and structure of the work.  I’m also working full-time, so a lot of my computing power gets sucked into those two realms.

More than that, however, I’ve always had problems with writer’s block, and when writing non-fiction, there are times when it gets quite terrible.  With fiction, I can force myself along with the bribe that if I get through this bit, something cool happens next.  But it doesn’t work quite the same way with nonfiction.  No narrative and no development means no cool bits.

That’s not always the case, of course – a lot of history *is* narrative, and there are lots of cool bits of history.  But it’s not always clear how to lead myself on to get to those bits.

Someone recently pointed me to this post over on thedirtynormal about how writing makes feels (NB: the DN is a site about women and sexuality, so outside the normal scope of this blog and possibly NSFW depending how fiercely your work enforces such things), and although on a totally different subject than my research, the feeling she’s describing is very familiar to me.  There is something essentially exposing and vulnerable about writing, and at times, that f**ing sucks.  For me, the process of writing has always been very cathartic, but then allowing other people to experience it?  Terrifying.  

The problem, for me as for Emily, is it’s not something I want to give up.  I like my research.  I like writing this blog.  But when I submitted the first new chapter of my new thesis to my supervisors, I had a panic attack and couldn’t do anything for hours afterwards except stare off into space and contemplate all of the terrible things they could say about it.  The feeling is less severe every time I hit post on here, but it’s still there.

But blogging is still more fun than it isn’t, so I don’t intend on giving it up.  And although I don’t think it’s happened yet, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before someone blames the shutdown on sharia, so I obviously need to stick around for that!

About askanislamicist

I'm an academic who specializes in early Islamic history and the history of religious interactions, who, in her free time, enjoys shouting into the internet.
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2 Responses to Writing makes feels…

  1. Margaret Hollis says:

    Be of good cheer. Writer’s block can be gotten around. Grants will come back. You have readers. Keep up the good work.

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