As I've begun new chapters, I've tried to change this style of writing; I've tried to go from my research and notetaking stage to the drafting stage in a more graceful way, a way that would eliminate this pain-staking revision stage that I have found myself in time after time; but so far, it hasn't worked out. It seems my process is that after a period of research (usually having generated only a percentage of what I will eventually need to complete the chapter), I feel compelled, like a surfer being caught by the swell of a wave, to create a document and begin the "Draft File." This is often what I enjoy the most; blocks of time disappear as I type, getting lost in the "work." But as enjoyable as this stage is for me, I am never doing my future self any favors. This draft is usually a piece of junk.
I guess my problem has been not being able to fight that compulsion to begin writing. My adviser always says that I shouldn't fight it -- that if I am being compelled to write it is because I need to think through my material and argument through the act of writing. In other words, the resulting crappy draft is not the point of the exercise; it is the thinking that occurs while writing the crappy draft. In fact, I could probably just delete the whole thing after I write it and I'd be no worse for wear.
But then, of course, once all that writing is down into the file, I CAN'T BEAR TO DELETE IT. I can't even bear to ignore it. It has become something that I will mold, and re-shape, and nurture, maybe until it is completely unrecognizable, but never completely part with. I wish I could exorcise this always-too-early compulsion to draft from my writing process, but for now, I've resorted to it every time.
After this current chapter, I will challenge myself once again to discover a different, perhaps more efficient, process... but for now, I am stuck with what I have -- which is a big messy 80 page document that will take me the next few weeks to craft into something readable and valuable.
I am interested in learning about your writing processes -- and if you have any advice for this disseration writer! Please share your thoughts, gripes, and processes here!
Until next time, yours, Liza