I’ve had my fair share of legitimate excuses these past four years–new job to learn, pregnancy, baby to care for–but I don’t have them anymore.  Sure Caroline still woke up cold with a tummy ache in the night last night, but just once.  That doesn’t count as a legitimate excuse for not making progress on my article this morning.  This phase of writing is just plain hard, no getting around it.  I’m both a visionary and a wordsmith.  The launch of an article, when all of the ideas are flying and coming into some sort of visual (for me) relationship to one another, is engaging and pleasurable.  I enter the “flow” zone.  The wordsmithing of a paragraph is also gripping for me.  Tedious when I stop and see how few lines I’ve completed, but still, I enjoy it and experience flow.

The middle steps of the writing process are another story.  I lag.  I procrastinate.  I abandon projects.  I’ve dreamed them, but they don’t exist yet.  The middle section is what Peter Elbow suggests that writers freewrite, but I find the distance between freewriting and wordsmithing a final draft to be too great to be of much value.  I can freewrite.  Making the freewritten draft into something usable is very difficult.  Elbow actually suggests freewriting the same section three times as a way of improving it, getting it closer to final draft, while never getting stuck.  Perhaps that’s a solution.  It seems that the third draft can’t really be called freewriting anymore, then, since the mind isn’t free but trying to stay loyal to the preconceived–and improving–argument.  Well, it’s nice to have that technique in my toolbox in case I get stuck this morning.  40 minutes of drafting, here I come.