writing perfection

I’m not a perfectionist. Anyone who has read this blog can attest to that. I can post relatively often because I don’t insist on perfection. I write what I am thinking, read it over once or twice, and hit publish. I’m not concise. I ramble. I’m wordy. I have overly complex sentence structures that occasionally make no sense.

I was the same way as a student through my undergraduate degree. I’m a decent first draft writer. I would stay up all night writing a paper, print it out just in time, and turn it in. I did especially well on essay exams because I am a good single-draft writer.

In graduate school, I’ve tried to do better with that. I do multiple drafts. And then my committee chair always has more changes for me to make. And she’s always right. So I’ve been working and working and working on these chapters. But it’s still not perfection. As various people have reminded me–the dissertation doesn’t have to be perfect, just finished. If I publish it, I can work on something closer to perfection.

So that brings me to job documents: Letter of Interest, Curriculum Vitae, Teaching Philosophy, Dissertation Precis, Writing Sample, etc. etc. These are the documents that make one stand out from the crowd. There are around 100 equally qualified applicants per job and the search committee uses the aforementioned documents to narrow down to 5-8 to schedule MLA interviews. These documents have to be perfect. Unique, interesting, concise, and perfect. It’s been kicking my rear. I’m not a perfectionist, but I keep going over and over these things. I am taking forever because I keep going back and changing a word here or a phrase there. And each one needs to be customized for the position, so I’ll have the basics by the end of this week, but I’ll still be perfecting as I send out each set.

So that’s what I’ve been writing this week: not this blog, not my dissertation, but all these little statements about myself that will determine my future. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Especially since I have a deadline for the diss. and I haven’t even looked at it since I started getting serious about this stuff. Yep. Overwhelmed. But I suppose the deadlines will come and this, too, shall pass.

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4 Responses to writing perfection

  1. quackademic says:

    Oh, do I know what you mean! It’s a job that seems never-ending. Hang in there, and if you need eyes for your docs, send ’em to me. I’d be happy to give you feedback (and encouragement!)

  2. I feel your pain. I absolutely hate the job/ministry search process. Doctrinal statement, ministry philosophy…

    My current project (the one I’m procrastinating on by working on Role-Playing Game settings) is my doctoral application essay.

    I’m praying for you (not just saying that).

    • bookgirl71 says:

      Thanks, Jason. I appreciate the prayers. Grad School apps are not much fun, either. I will be praying for you, too. I’ll be interested in what you decide to do.

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