A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Somewhere or Other

I’m not sure I ever publicly admitted this, but over the last year-plus, while I was contemplating this past spring’s leave and the work that I’d do then, I’d pretty much concluded that my next major project was going to be more creative in scope than scholarly, in no small part because I’d come to the conclusion that, while I absolutely loved writing still, I hated doing research. I hated running down sources, reading secondary texts, doing all the stuff that needed doing in order to piece through an argument.

In fact, at the time at least, I was pretty sure that I might not ever do any writing that one might consider “scholarly” again.

But somehow or another I agreed to write the article whose progress (or lack thereof) I tracked here over the last couple of months, and that required a bunch of research, of precisely the variety that I really didn’t want to do. And it was extremely painful at moments, but I’d committed, and so I did it.

And now I’ve got two more articles ahead of me. Which I’m doing the research for now.

And it occurred to me this morning, for the first time, that I’m seriously enjoying the research, in and of itself. Reading new stuff. Putting ideas together. Figuring out what other stuff I need to read in order to deepen the point I think I might be trying to make.

And I’m beginning to suspect that the point I might be trying to make will extend across several articles. And might, in fact, turn into something book-like.

It ain’t over yet — in fact, it’s barely begun — but I’m getting the slightest little glimmer that I might make it out of the sophomore slump. That I might be in the right profession after all.

And that’s a really unexpected outcome for a sabbatical and summer that I thought would carry me, if anything, further away from scholarly terrain.

2 thoughts on “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Somewhere or Other

  1. I hated doing research. I hated running down sources, reading secondary texts, doing all the stuff that needed doing in order to piece through an argument.

    I hope one day in the not-too-distant future, I’ll be able to admit such things publicly, too.

    But I have to add that I’m enjoying a lot about being ABD–not just the work itself, but also the process of professionalization and acculturation. The revising-and-resubmitting process has been stressful, but there’s something deeply satisfying about getting my stuff out there (or, at least for now, the knowledge that my work will be out there soon).

    Maybe my tune will have changed quite a bit by the time I’m in Philly in December.

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