Louise DeSalvo (2014) offers writers a number of tidbits about the art of writer’s craft in her book, The Art of Slow Writing: Reflections on Time, Craft, and Creativity. I’m grateful for hearing about this book on a recent episode of You’ve Got This podcast (Thanks, Katie!), as it has helped me think about how to best set up my own writing this year. I have quite a bit of data and projects on the go, so this book helped me frame how I’ll be both “Labor and Management,” identify the need to keep a “Ship’s Log” for my writing accountability, and to maintain the critical check ins I have set with my “Writing Partners” for support. Although this text offers bits and pieces of advice for and from fictional writers, I think this advice can be applied for those of us writing scholarly papers and publications as well.
One section of the book, DeSalvo shares how her son picks up skills in a way that is like a self-created, self-directed apprenticeships. I think I do a bit of this as well to “self-improve” or learn more about the HOW TO do a task in academia. As you can see, I am reading this book to support my own craft of writing and discipline to produce publications. This snippet of Savlo’s book gave me pause for reflection and reminded me to persist onward for the long, slow work ahead — so I thought I share for others who are grinding out their own writing projects:
“Expect to fail for a long time. Be patient. Read widely in your field and learn about antecedents and contemporaries so you’re not working in a vacuum Seek out the finest examples and learn from them. Find out how other people in other fields create and make a habit of learning something you can apply to your work or your process from each encounter. Seek out and talk to writers. Learn how books are made – learn about publishing and self-publishing. Learn how long it takes to become proficient, how long it takes to write a book and get it published, so you don’t have false expectations. If you choose to, and can afford to, find the best teachers and listen when they critique your work, though this isn’t essential – many successful writers never had formal training in their craft. Join a community of practitioners and give back – pass on what you know. And finally, echoing Ira Glass, don’t give up too soon” (Salvo, 2014, pp. 79-80).
Writing IS A PROCESS. This process IS SLOW, and it continues to push on in a steady pace. Great pieces of work don’t always get accomplished overnight, and it does require some dedication and determination to get to that writing finish line (+revisions, of course). Hang in there fellow, #AcWri friends. Now, let’s get back to work and #ShutUpAndWrite. #GoScholarsGo
DeSalvo, L. (2014). The Art of Slow Writing: Reflections on Time, Craft, and Creativity. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin.