e-mail me at billdeg@umich.edu



A dirty secret of mine is that I'm not a very good reviser. I plan heavily and write slowly and my strength as a writer lies in my ability to write a very good first draft. When working on an academic project, I rarely compose more than two or three sentences without re-reading what just appeared on the page. Blogging and journal writing are different stories--I'm talking here about papers and articles here. Tilly Warnock, my first teacher in grad school, distinguishes between heavy planners and heavy revisers, ekers and gushers, and I fit firmly into the former camp.

Serves me pretty well, though when I re-read Donald Murry and others who write so eloquently about "trusting the gush," I feel like I'm missing out. And when I get comments from peer reviewers and editors, I usually have to overcome an initial, overwhelming sense of jeesh what do I do now? I even get this sense when the reviewers are quite specific about what to do. I'm trying to experiment a bit to get out of my heavy planner comfort zone. I want to take some risks with heavy revision strategies. I'm always going to be a slow and methodical composer, but, aside from that, I want to get more comfortable (maybe "more willing" is a better, more accurate, way to put it) jumping on a draft and revising the heck out of it.

As I work on revisions to the conclusion I'm writing for the rhetoric of social movements collection, here's what I'm doing to break out of that comfort zone. I have multiple files started with different lines of analysis. I have suggestions right now from each of the editors and I have a .doc file for each editor's list of suggestions. I also have a separate file for some paragraphs I'm working on that respond specifically to some of the individual chapters of the collection. I've got these different files so I can work on different ideas and different strands that will eventually become part of the chapter. I'll start synthesizing in a few days, but for now I'm trying this separate strand route as a way to get myself re-writing my stuff in big, global ways. Maybe this will become a habit to get myself to be a bit more chaotic and a bit less anal.

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