This post is from the 30-day reflective writing series I made for Academic Writing Month (November 2018). For background on the series and links to all the videos, visit this page. To turn on subtitles: On a computer, hover at the bottom of the video window to make the row of icons appear; click on the “settings” icon (which looks like a cog), and select “Subtitles.” On a phone, the “subtitles” icon is in the bottom right corner of the screen.
Over the course of a long writing project, the material form of the project — drafts, notes, outlines, sources — tends to become ever more chaotic as we generate draft upon draft, outline after outline, in our quest to understand our subject fully and design the optimal structure for the final manuscript. It’s like when you’re cleaning out a closet, and have to first dump everything out all over the floor before you can even begin to decide what to discard and how to arrange what you’re keeping.
Today, take stock of the material form that your project currently has and think of one way you can bring more order to that form, whether by filing some material away in “storage,” consolidating related materials, or any other action you can think of to bring your project one step closer to its finished, organized self.
Occasionally shifting from generating material to ordering that material is a necessary strategy in order for us to make progress toward the goal of producing a clear and compelling manuscript.