I need to write. Yes… this is the day for my weekly blog post, which is something I can whip out in ten minutes as an 0ff-the-cuff piece that doesn’t need citations or beta readers or anything more than a once-over proofread.
Specifically, I need to write a 750+ word paper that argues whether a specific historical person (who isn’t famous, but we have a large excerpt from his 13th century diary) is a peasant, merchant, or nobleman. It’s my first academic paper in many years, and the assignment is basically intended for us to get our toes wet as scholars of history.
Writing 750 words is a piece of cake for me. Making sure that I have a thesis that is appropriately stated and well-supported is a bit more of a challenge, but something I’m up for. Doing the citations properly is a challenge, but I can follow the online guide.
Writing fiction may not seem like a direct preparation for writing an academic paper, but it definitely helps. I know the difference between following an important thread (such as defining the difference between a peasant and a merchant) and chasing something fluffy down a rabbit hole (the crowds in Florence chanting “BALLS!” because that’s what was on the Medici crest.) I have the discipline not to fall down the rabbit hole, and limit my other sidetracks to what is immediately necessary for this paper.
I am enjoying my classes immensely! I am not surprised by the amount of work or time, though at times I can feel it is getting overwhelming. (Overcoming that is another skill to discuss some other time.) Today is my day between classes, which are all on Tuesdays and Thursdays for now. I have a specific set of tasks I need to accomplish, and fit in normal family stuff such as picking up my kid from school, and writer commitments such as an important meeting tonight.
Later in the semester I hope to be in a better “swing” so I can find time to finish the fiction as well as fulfill my academic commitments.
And enjoy doing it!