The writing spirit has moved me of late, and I’ve been averaging 786.77 words and 2.69 paragraphs per writing day. At this rate, I should finish the 12,000 words for this chapter’s rough draft in two days. I know this because I keep track on a spreadsheet: the date, the total words written, the total paragraphs written, the words and paragraphs per day, average word/paragraph production, and days to finish at current rate. When I explained this system to a non-academic friend of mine, he said, “That doesn’t really sound like creative writing to me.” And, of course, he’s right. In fact, I’m not even sure I would consider what I’m doing “writing.” I am wringing out words, spawning sentences, producing paragraphs. I think I’ve slipped in some good ideas here and there, but right now I’m just trying to get the narrative on the page. And it is liberating; I have often tortured myself over the perfect argument, retreated to my research notes on a hunt for the tidbit that will bring that perfection, only to find myself stumped or sidetracked. But when I follow the narrative, I find myself bumping into analytical problems that I must resolve (at least partially) in order to move on to the next part of the story. And that imperative — to solve the problem so that I can get on with the story — places an immediacy on my analysis that demands focus. Which is to say: when I’m forced to figure out a problem, I usually do. My analysis isn’t airtight, but I’m not done with my analysis yet; that’s what revisions are for. But first I need to write the story.