More on how to write

You cannot do it while tearing yourself down. I told Reeducation I could not afford the kind of self destruction it wanted and I was right. I told the academic advisors that my problem was not not knowing how to write but having had my hands cut off, as it were, and they did not believe me but what I said was true.

In order to write academically, I find, and to some extent also creatively (but not bureaucratically–that is much easier), you have to be in a position to be really objective on the topic and on yourself the writer. This a point the academic advisors forget — they seem to think the whole issue is Time Management, Not Being Lazy, Not Being Willing to Do Unpleasant Things, and so on. They assume one lacks self-control and submission, attributes and activities in which I am all too well trained. Authors have authority, and you have to be in a position to take authority.

I, in any case, have to be able to feel crystal clear, lucid, unconcerned with questions such as whether I have the right to be doing what I am doing. Only this way can I  maintain the right proximity to and also distance from the material.





Filed under Resources, Theories, What Is A Scholar?

2 responses to “More on how to write

  1. j.

    i am a very unproductive writer, in the sense that ever since i switched from english to philosophy in college, basically, i have found it more and more burdensome to finish any writing project (despite starting them constantly), whereas i used to just dash off fluent and reasonable discourse as it suited me.

    a lot of what i hear about how to become more productive, especially informally from my friends and advisors, centers around anxieties over how good one is, how good one’s work is. but i also hear, in what they say about how one writes, a sense that one just has opinions, shapes them up, gets them out there. in comparison to what i write—and it is what you said above that moves me to think this—they seem not to be bothered by whether they have a right to say what they are saying, do what they are doing. but my choices of topics and methods have left me facing that question all the time, of what right i have. others seem not to care about having that right.

    • Z

      That’s interesting. I am probably more like them — I got convinced in psychotherapy that I was a fraud, or something crazy like that — but you seem to be coming at this from actual philosophical concerns. I will think about this.

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