Monday, April 26, 2010

Proposal Update 5

Okay. The section on manufacturing consent is done. I’m realizing that a key motivational technique is not to lose heart when solution to the organizational challenge of a given paragraph isn’t immediately forthcoming. It’s okay to have a few days where you have no visible forward progress. But I should journal and think about the problem actively for a little while each day and not feel like a failure because the paragraph didn’t emerge on demand. Organized complex paragraphs requiring large amounts of synthesis are simply not available on demand anymore. While this is an annoying and offensive problem, it is important to bear in mind that it is not an insuperable problem.

Time to stick the new section into the paragraph rewrite worksheet. Once that’s cleaned up, we’re in the first draft’s endgame. I have to organize the cases and the logistics. Wheeee!

UPDATE: I've just gotten through the fifth paragraph of the sequence using the paragraph rewrite worksheet. I'm already exhausted. I get it now. MS gives me lesions. The brain needs to shunt ideas the long way around. Re-routing is exhausting. I get tired, so I stop. Then I forget to go back. I get nowhere, then I get depressed. The trick is to learn (1) to do this in small bits and pieces (2) while remembering to keep going back and working on it consistently, (3) despite the fact that there's very little that's rewarding about each piece and (4) not to get depressed that what I used to do quickly in my head, I now have to do piecemeal over weeks. Yeah it sucks, but this is doable! I can't forget that.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Proposal Update 4

I’ve come to the most difficult section of the causal sequence. I clearly can’t exceed two paragraphs, given that we still haven’t talked about cases and methods yet. I'm having problems with synthesis. Perhaps I need a new arrow diagram.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Proposal Update 3

I think I may lay off Bourke and dig into Grossman. She’s a brutally disorganized writer. Blocking and outlining the first chapter was painful. If her first combined with Grossman provide enough fodder for the proposal, I’ll leave the rest for later.

Proposal Update 2

The first draft of the lit review is done. The intro to the essay comes in at about a page and a quarter and the lit review is coming in at just under three pages. The proposed model begins near the top of page 5. I’m using the length requirement for the SSRC as a guideline. Currently, the font is Times New Roman 11-point, but the spacing is still double-spaced instead of space-and-a-half. I feel that I’m on track for length. Now for the model.

I have two sections done and ready for editing. I got stuck a while back while free-writing when I realized that I needed more data. I spent all of January and a good part of February reading. I wanted to just “skim and get what I need quickly” for these sections—anything to avoid plodding and losing “writing momentum.” I’m coming to realize that for someone with lesions in his frontal lobes, there is no such thing! There is only “charting momentum” of the type you see on this blog. Writing cannot be experienced as a flow. I need to work section by section, toward a single draft. I can't just bash out a rough draft at a single shot. Baseball. Writing is baseball—162 games. It’s all about consistency. Instrumentally rational production. No charisma.

Here’s the reading that needs to be finished for the model:

Part of the trick is to stop being perfectionistic about efficiency. I need to focus on comparatively efficient but still withing the realm of the possible. It was always my goal to see it in my head and then make it happen. That led to fast, good drafts when I had working frontal lobes. Now I must embrace what under the old system was gross inefficiency. When reading, I must take in a gross oversample of information, rather than triage reading and distilling what I need from the text “on demand.” Next, I must write a rough paragraph that is likely to also be disorganized and contain to much information. This is simple “journaling.” Then I distill and reorganize by hand, using the paragraph rewrite exercise. No skipping steps and trying to do it in my head. It’s plodding, pure and simple. I do not fly. I plod. I’m the fucking turtle. I need to embrace it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Proposal Update 1

Okay. I’ve been writing. I’m in the middle of the proposal’s rough draft. Here’s the progress chart for the intro and lit review:

And here’s the progress chart for the model:

I need to make a progress chart for the portion on testing the theory. I also need to get back to the lit review. There are several more pieces I need to read for this proposal.

I’m beginning to understand why I’ve choked on this for so long. I used to do incredible amounts of organization and distillation in my head. Making all these tables makes be very aware of just how daunting writing is for me now. I could never organize because my unconscious mind knew that if I saw how fucking hard everything was for me now, I’d fall apart. The planning needed to stay on focus is simply enormous.