Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Writing an Hour a Day: Hopelessly, Faithfully

I am very happy today. I finished extensive revisions on a scholarly children's literature article that grew out of a paper I presented at the Children's Literature Association conference in Richmond, Virginia, in June of 2015. And I just sent it off to a journal - hooray, hooray!

There is no bliss greater than the bliss of attaching a document and pressing SEND. Well, except for the bliss that awaits me this afternoon of lugging all the books I needed for this project back to the university library and beholding a clean desk ready for the next project.

This article is titled "Trying to Be Good (with Bad Results): The WouldbegoodsBetsy-Tacy and Tib, and Ivy and Bean: Bound to Be Bad." It examines three different texts, published over the course of a full century, which feature children who are making conscious, deliberate, intentional attempts at being good, with results that end up as decidedly NOT good. The central thesis of the paper is that all three authors (E. Nesbit, Maud Hart Lovelace, and Annie Barrows) are not satirizing children's naivety about the moral realm; instead they are satirizing the ways in which adult authorities communicate significant errors about the moral life to young readers.

Anyway, it was a HUGE project to turn a half-baked 10-page conference paper into a well-researched 30-page journal paper, festooned with footnotes and chock-a-block with citations. I really didn't think I'd get ever get it done, it was so overwhelming and I was so daunted.

But I did. 

And this is how I did it. Yes, I worked at it for an hour a day (well, sometimes even TWO hours a day), day after day after day, for perhaps a month and a half. 

That's all. 

I worked without hope - the whole project seemed hopeless. But I worked with a steady, dogged faithfulness. 

Now it's done. And submitted. And the months of waiting can begin for what will almost surely (based on my quarter century of past experience) be a verdict of "revise and resubmit." Which will mean tackling another extensive round of massive revisions. Which I will accomplish by trudging hopelessly, but faithfully and even cheerfully, for an hour a day, day after day, until it's done.

Then, once again, I'll hit SEND in a rush of rapture, and once again have the joy of returning the library books, and once again be DONE DONE DONE with a project - at least until it returns for more revision.

An hour a day. That's all it takes. 


  1. Hurray for Claudia and for all hopeless faithful toilers!

  2. We can all toil hopelessly and faithfully together.

  3. THIS IS SO GOOD. Thanks for saying this. There is hope with any task. Also, that sounds like a really interesting paper!

    1. Thanks, sweet Amy! I am such a fan of steady trudging!