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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Letting Go

Funny things happen when it's time to hit the "send" button on an article or other piece of scholarship.  It's not exactly Kubler-Ross but I have noticed that in the last day or two of reviewing, certain stages happen pretty predictability.  Bracketed footnotes that I always said I'd get back to suddenly become less important to the integrity of the piece -- out they go.  As I proof the text for (I promise myself) the last time, my argument suddenly starts to appear absolutely compelling and tightly organized.  Then, on the next read, I cut out a paragraph because it just doesn't work.  And finally, exhaustion and, in true On Death and Dying  spirit, acceptance, where I decide that it is what it is and I'm not going to hold it any more.

I don't think I'm particularly obsessive, but I have to say I really dislike this process.  Did Cass Sunstein ever go through this before he started running the bureaucracy?  Do others?  Tonight is a double witching-hour for me, as I'm turning in an exam, as well as the symposium piece that's the subject of most of the aforementioned angst.  The last day of holding an exam is no picnic, either.  My only consolation is that I won't have to go through this again, at least not until the August submission season.

Seriously, though: Do others have this last-second angst, either before submitting scholarship or exams?  Anyone care to share some coping strategies?

Posted by Bill Araiza on May 4, 2010 at 09:13 PM | Permalink


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It's an important corporate law decision. Congrats again!

Posted by: Miriam A. Cherry | May 13, 2010 3:34:22 AM


Thanks for the heads up on the cite from Judge Rakoff. (I can't believe my publicist missed that in his daily clippings report.) But seriously, I have to give credit to my former colleagues at Loyola-LA who came up with the idea of the Yogi Berra article. It was great fun -- and given my last name, I'm always the one who gets cited for it!

Posted by: Bill Araiza | May 7, 2010 1:57:36 PM

I, too, have this issue with holding onto articles and exams. I am very worried about them and afraid there will be a typo. I've dithered for days over these things. In fact, I call it the "pulling the trigger" problem.

p.s. On the "Five Stages of Grief" analogy and writing, check out:

p.p.s. Bill, nice way to get quoted by Judge Rakoff in the BoA opinion!

Posted by: Miriam A. Cherry | May 6, 2010 9:03:28 PM

I'm also in the camp that despairs before hitting send, but I'm a very emotional writer the whole way through.

Posted by: Lyrissa | May 5, 2010 3:53:52 PM

I'm with you in terms of losing footnotes, and ultimately reaching a point where I utter a mildly colorful phrase and hit send. But in terms of how I feel about the piece right before hitting send, I tend to be with anon - the last read reveals not one single thing that's compelling or tightly organized, but rather a pile of words that barely meets the minimum standards of written English. Up till then it's been a roller coaster ride with peaks of "this might be pretty good" and valleys of "this is irremediably bad." With exams the worry is slightly different - it is that during the middle of it a student will show up with a question that reveals what I should have recognized as an obvious flaw in a fact pattern.

Posted by: Chad Oldfather | May 5, 2010 9:59:37 AM

The closer I get to hitting send, the more convinced I become that the Article is terrible. In a way, this helps me let it go, because I know that anything I do in the next few hours isn't going to make it better. Because, well, the thesis is either wrong or obvious.

Posted by: anon | May 5, 2010 8:08:54 AM

You've described my experience to a T. I just grit my teeth and remind myself that everyone else feels the same way. That's the best I can do for coping strategies.

Posted by: Ben | May 5, 2010 2:46:34 AM

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