Pitfalls

The following is a painfully accurate description of one painful ‘creative’ process  people with Aspergers Syndrome undergo when ‘writing stuff up’:

You have found the perect topic – or perhaps it has been assigned to you.  Either way, you spend weeks figuring out the best angle from which to approach it, because that will determine what you need to read up on and how you organize your thought.  You read anything and everythig related to it, until you find just the most perfect way to present the main idea.

The brain engages, and does not let go!  Not for a little bit.  You even dream about it – if you can sleep at all!  You find yourself reading tons of stuff you realize you should have read long ago, because it added important data that needs to be included in the analysis of whatever it is you are thinking about – and you had already started thingking about it!

OK, re-organize the data in your brain and push the re-start button on the analysis process!  Oh, and all that stuff you wrote up yesterday – well, might as well re-read it before tossing it out….but wait!  This bit – let me ‘Google’ it, it needs to be expanded on so the reader does not become confused!  Oh, you’d better read that, too!

Then you realize that five or six years ago, you read a book or an article on an unrelated topic, but which could be used as an effective parallel – so you spend several hours hunting it down.  Better to also read a few of the underlying studies – to get a feel for the raw data, and thus better understand the reasoning underlying the analysis.  Right.  More data to add, re-start the analysis thinking bit again.

You think you have it:  and tell a friend about it.  It helps to bounce ideas back and forth – not just for the plausibility of your conclusions, but – and perhaps most importantly – to see if there are whole huge chunks of ‘stuff’ you did not explain, because it seemed ‘obvious’ or ‘common knowledge’ to you – yet which do not appear so to people who have not obsessively immersed in this topic for several weeks/months/years.  It is surprising to you how all these people could live happily without intimate knowledge of ‘whatever the topic topic happens to be’!

Your friend has no idea what you’re talking about – so you make a mental note to read up on ‘lay terms’ used to express ‘your stuff’.  More reading, learning how to dumb-down perfectly clear and precise phrases into common words which have layers of meanings, and so can never accurately describe anything exactly and unequivocally.  You’ll just have to compensate by expanding the section where you explain in detail how the words are used in your article.  It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s the best that can be hoped for.  Better add a paragraph or two to each sub-section, with more detailed explanations, or the whole point will have been lost.

Right.  Your deadline was a week ago – so even though you know you have a lot more to read up on to make an truly accurate analysis, you’d better get stuff down on paper.  Better include a paragraph or two to explain what you did not get to read up on, so people know and can compensate for it.  Sloppy…  But better than being misleading!

So, you write it up.  It is there, it took days of writing.  It is still terrible, even though you re-wrote each sentence four or five times, re-edited each paragraph to accomodate each sentence re-write, then adjusted the whole document to the changes in the paragraph. But, the basic ideas are there.  Good!

Almost ready.  Now, you just need to edit it down to under 2 pages….which is going to be a little hard.  You now have 78 of them, and that is in very small font in an effort to shrink it.  That will NEVER work!

Perhaps, you decide, you will pick a different topic…

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