Thursday, December 03, 2009

Editor's Block?

If ever someone needed some stupid motivational tricks, I do now. Jonathan's new blog on the subject is a welcome development. Over the past few weeks I haven't been functioning properly, and it has affected even my work as an editor. I generally agree with Paul Silvia, however: academic writers don't get writer's block. When they do, they have misunderstood the nature of their task. They are, in a sense, being "unprofessional" about their work. That probably describes my current situation. I am being too much the struggling artist about something that is, in fact, an ordinary, workaday craft. I'm like the often-parodied actor asking "What's my motivation?"

(Mordecai Richler's comments about his work are very relevant here. You can find them under "Living in London" at the CBC's archives.)

I will not get the problem to go away simply by chiding myself for being unprofessional, however. Though part of getting through this will, of course, just be getting down to work, over the longer term I need to rediscover the boundaries that once kept the various parts of my job from interfering with each other and made each task enjoyable in its own limited way. Fortunately, we're heading towards a natural break in the routine. This semester's 16-week program ends in a couple of weeks time, and then I will regroup, think things over, and get back at it in the new year.

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