I started thinking about this post and writing it in my head (where most of the things I write like to start out) three weeks ago, right after a meeting with my chair. I then pushed the To Do of writing the post forward a couple of weeks, and now find myself in the milestone-ish position of being about to submit my first chapter draft (on the Ronettes, the Chiffons, the Beatles, and George Harrison) – so the idea of Progress and Process together feels even more important and timely!
My draft has a lot of feelings in it, both open and latent (as most of my writing does), and an evolving shape that I know will change once I revise it (which Chair so wonderfully and freeingly said will probably be after I write the next one). I can track the places that got me excited and the places that I felt less ready to tackle just by scanning through. I can see where I got angry – and there are a lot of places like that, given that my whole argument is rooted in the routinized oppression of / erasure of Black female singers at the hands of (mostly) white male critics and academics (and to the benefit of white men).
The broader cycle of fear and love in this kind of writing is so apparent to me the further I get. I definitely felt it with the prospectus, and I have felt it with term papers and articles, but it’s even more intense in this instance. I notice the days where I’m too tired from teaching to look at the chapter, and the days where I incline away from my working draft document and toward my (gargantuan!) notes document. I notice the days where I overthink the writing I’ve done or the writing I haven’t.
Some of the feelings are technologically manipulated, too, I realize. Thanks to the magic of text manipulation (and writing in 1.5 spacing instead of double), my chapter is significantly longer than I have been thinking it was. And while writing this, I realized that I chose a different font to draft these posts in than I use for my diss writing, and it’s an accidentally helpful technique. It creates distance where you can in order to keep focus or separate projects in your head (or other things).
Since I wrote the body of this text, I’ve sent the chapter in, and I’m starting off on the second one (on the Ronettes, the Shangri-Las, and the Ramones). Stay tuned for updates!