Writing advice

Jerry

11 day(s) ago

Does anyone have any advice about knowing when to stop reading and start writing. I am feeling overwhelmed with how much is relevant to the topic on which I am writing. Any one have a good rule of thumb for when to stop reading and start (just) writing? Or advice about how to feel good about deciding to do no further research on your topic?

Serene

11 day(s) ago

When you feel like you could still read more, start writing.

If you wait till you feel like there's nothing more to read, you'll never begin writing.

Reading becomes a subtle way of procrastinating. You see this especially among graduate students, who will never write but tell themselves that they're working because they're reading.

Jerry

11 day(s) ago

Yes, right. But I write all the time (every day) so I don't procrastinate, but once I begin to read outside of philosophy, it really does get overwhelming. One bit of advice I could consider is not reading outside of philosophy.

Norman

11 day(s) ago

I think you need to start writing when you feel you have reasonable grounds to think that what you write will turn out to still be worth having written no matter what further sources you discover. Of course, this needs to be allowed to be fallible. Just start when you think the odds for that are good. And I'd caution against being too hard-line about stopping reading. Shift to focusing on writing on the topic in question at the point where it starts to feel likely that what you write will remain worthwhile (perhaps modulo the odd footnote or extra paragraph or amendment), but still keep an eye on the literature, and on the look out for newly appearing stuff.

Juliet

10 day(s) ago

Don't stop reading, but start writing every day. Your subsequent reading will inform your wtiting and your revisions, but your writing will help to inform and direct your reading.

Ho

10 day(s) ago

Jerry, please don't stop reading outside philosophy, whether it's novels, poetry, commentary, sports--or even better a mix of some such. Part of the justification of the present map of grad school is an exercise in concentrated study--you take a minimal curriculum of courses and then with hopefully good direction you must write something to win your degree. But that's just the start of learning to be a better writer and thinker. All the stuff in this world is connected in some way, and the more that you read beyond your perceived expertise, the better you will see that connected to all that other stuff. And that will make you, well, wiser. True expertise is not just knowing one area, but knowing as best you can how that area connects to as many other areas as you can see.

And writing? You write when you wish and are forced to--and the happiest writing is when those two factors coincide. Be prepared to write a lot of crap--but the key is growing to know when it is crap, and when it has at least potential for being more than crap.

Poetry has been my salvation outside analyzing why i know that p. I wish you yours.


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