Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Give me a P! Give me an R! Give me an O!....

...And a C-R-A-S-T-I-N-A-T-I-O-N!

Today I sat down and forced myself to write something that I've been dreading to do, and should have done last week, but have been putting off because of said dread. And yet the draft of it only took me half a day. D'oh!

What's my problem? Seriously, I'm usually not a procrastinator, so why did I put this smallish task off?

Well, part of why I was dreading it was because it was a response to a critique of an article I'd written, and that's never fun. It's moments like these that I sympathize with my students when they get my comments on drafts and have to respond to them and take them into account. No wonder some of them just go with denial and don't change anything except maybe the typos! And for that very reason -- that sympathy with students -- I think the whole process of peer-review, of revising-and-resubmitting, or responding to critics, etc., is valuable to us not only as scholars/researchers, but as teachers as well. It's valuable to keep us humble, to remind us of what it's like to get a marked-up piece of work back, but it's also valuable so that we can say to students, "Hey, I have to go through this, too" and to convince them that they are indeed part of a writing community.

Anyway, back to my procrastination issues...This was also just a weird piece I had to write. It wasn't revise-and-resubmit or a response to an editor to convince him/her that a peer reviewer's criticisms were misplaced -- those I've done. But in this case, my article is being considered for a edited collection and the editors assigned various people in the field to write introductions to groups of articles. And in my case, the introducer took my article to task for a few things he thought were wrong with it. And so I was supposed to write a response which will be published along with his intro and my article. I guess it's suppose to be imitating the kinds of conversations/debates that can happen over longer periods of time in a series of journal articles, which in theory is cool, but it still made for a weird kind of writing performance for me since I've never taken on criticisms of my work in (potential) print before. So the strangeness -- not to mention dealing with criticism -- made it all something I did not look forward to in the least. Hence the procrastination.

On the bright side, however, while procrastinating, I got my syllabuses for fall done! Woo-hoo!

2 comments:

Morganlf said...

I've seen that format before, but yeah, it must be hard to have to respond to something like that in publishable prose. Good luck!

Ancrene Wiseass said...

[I]n my case, the introducer took my article to task for a few things he thought were wrong with it. And so I was supposed to write a response which will be published along with his intro and my article.

Uh, that just seems really weird to me. Hmm.

I can definitely understand why you procrastinated over this one: I don't know whether I'd have any idea how to begin!

So, congratulations for getting it done!