Finding a Good Reader
Nothing is more valuable to a young scholar than finding a good reader for her or his work, one who will be able to engage with the text on a critical level and offer valuable insights that the authors’ proximity to their own texts often prevents them from having. I am happy to say that I have found such a reader in Jonathan whose personal blog ¡Bemsha Swing! and a blog dedicated to the secrets of academic productivity Stupid Motivational Tricks I recommend to all of my readers.
When I sent to Jonathan the chapter that I had been the least excited about writing, he realized it immediately. This is what he wrote (I’m quoting this personal communication with Jonathan’s permission, in case anybody is wondering):
This is not written by the same person who can discuss Zizek and Eagleton with verve and aplomb on her blog.
This observation was completely true. It wasn’t written by the same person because the chapter was created a year before I started blogging.
Then, I sent Jonathan the chapter that I had written in the two weeks before my recent Florida vacation. Even though I didn’t mention that to him, he immediately saw that something was different:
This chapter is superior than the other two that I’ve read, in my opinion. The writing is less prone to wordiness and choppiness, the organization does not suffer from distracting views forwards and backwards. You have strong and convincing central points about the three novels analyzed, and perceptive individual points.
In all honesty, I’m still incapable of seeing any difference between my own chapters written last month and three years ago. This is why it’s great to have a reader who can spot those differences and point one in the right direction.
It is also really good to know that blogging has been so helpful in improving my writing.