I have become interested in how people write, and - specifically I guess - how I write and why I write the way I do. By writing I mean everything that goes into making up a manuscript, essay, thesis, or similar; from the notes at the very start of a project to the moment you press submit. This is for two reasons (1) I am typing up my monograph manuscript to submit for review. Yes, I said 'typing it up' and yes, that does mean that I started from the very beginning and will type the whole thing (more on that in a moment) and (2) Andrew and I are going to start a business (because starting a 'business on the side' is a good thing and not in any way taking on any extra unneeded work when one already has a full plate, ho hum...). I will come to (2) more in the next few weeks when we have some solid ideas about the three main products that we are going to produce.
But more on (1). This is what I am currently looking at:
Anyone who follows me on Twitter will be immediately familiar with that book. It is the hard-copy draft of my monograph, which I have taken to with a pen. I prefer to write edits with a pen because I think better with a pen. I type quite fast, and often type faster than I think, which results in going back and forward in a typed text to make changes. On a printed page everything is immediately visible, and the changes are etched in (although I know some people feel that ink gives a sense of permanence, I hold no such idea and am happy to scribble over, cross out, mark up, and generally make a mess on the page).
So, my general process involves a lot of writing and a lot of typing, because I also type up each new draft from scratch (expect for lengthy passages which have no changes, then I will copy and paste those from the old document, and I will usually copy-paste Greek passages from the old draft). In effect, this gives me two rounds of editing for the price of one - one round when I write and one round when I type. It's not the fastest way of doing things, but it has got me though three degrees, three theses of increasing length, and now it has almost got me to the end of this book.
More generally, though, I want to know how other people research, write, and edit. I find the way that people work really interesting - both from a personal point of view and from a pedagogical point of view. I was never taught how to write (although I did take an 'Academic Writing' course during the first year of my undergraduate degree...) but I did play around with writing style and method during my studies. I have run 'essay writing' tutorials before, and I never really know what to say about writing method beyond 'try some stuff out and see what works for you'. I would never recommend my method to another person (and especially not to an undergraduate who has a significant work load already), because it is laborious and time consuming, but I wonder if I am missing a trick here because my method could work for a student as well as it works for me.
The short answer (to the apparently unasked question) is: I have no idea. I don't know why my method works, and I don't know why I am reluctant to suggest it as a possible writing method for another person. Having said all of that, I would be very interested to hear about other people's writing methods (and particularly if your method is like mine!). Feel free to leave a comment or shout out on Twitter and let me know!
Edited to add: The way that I edit and write also has the odd by-product of unusual natural stopping points, because I re-type up page by page (and mark pages which have been complete). This means that I will often stop typing in mid sentence, as a perfectly natural thing. It only just struck me as (probably) a rather odd practice.
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