Writing – number 1
After a very long hiatus, I am returning to this blog site to post. In large measure, this is part of a project to increase my written output. I have engaged a writing coach to help me overcome my most serious pathology — a lack of discipline. That is, I am capable of writing, but I do so only under the external discipline of a deadline. When submission deadlines are on the horizon, I can sequester myself in my office and write intensively for several days and be content with the outcome. The process is messy — literally, as I surround myself with open books, photocopies and open PDF files of journal articles, and scribbled notes that accumulated in the run-up to the writing event. And, of course, I cannot have two simultaneous writing projects ongoing. Two phenomena militate against switching between writing projects: the physical mess and the requisite processes of thinking, composing, reference-checking, and editing that overlap during the course of meeting a deadline. Neither the open reference materials nor the incomplete thoughts from one project can be put aside in favor of another. Thus, it is necessary to develop a personal discipline that enables a more fluid writing process.
I will introduce you to the coach’s method as one of the themes of this blog in the coming weeks. At this juncture I will presage the presentation to say that an important element is the separation of thinking/composing from the act of writing. That is, one should develop the paragraphs that will be written at a particular point in time prior to the writing session. I will elaborate on this in the next few weeks as part of my devoirs.
As a second part of my training, I will also post short pieces from my current research projects. I will shuffle these in among the posts on writing as a way to practice the movement between projects. I will attempt to “think, then write” on a couple of these projects to see if I can overcome my pathological lack of discipline and my habits of confounding the different steps in writing and of burying my work space in open texts as some extravagant form of external memory.
The current projects involve the major thrust of my research on entrepreneurship: the phenomenon of collective entrepreneurship. I am participating on large projects funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the directorate of the USDA for competitive research grants. I am also interested in the cognitive and social processes that bring individuals or small firms together to entrée into collective entrepreneurial ventures. I will post on where these empirical and conceptual projects take me in the coming months as they unfold.