Finding inspiration to write about Linguistics again

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m trying to write a book and I often find myself “hiding from it”, as my former advisor used to say. I really want to write this book and I have no doubt that I will be able to write all 200+ pages required of me. I just have an ever-growing sense of incompetence. “You don’t know what you’re doing”, “you’re rusty from being out of academia for two years”, and other such choruses often play in my head when I start to contemplate writing a page or so. I must admit, it’s hard to ignore them.

I went from an environment where I was able to talk to my next-door apartment neighbor about linguistics for fun to an environment where the closest people to Linguists I have (within an hour’s drive) are more interested in TESOL than anything else. So, it’s hard to keep myself hyped.

What I’ve decided to start doing is to read recent linguistic papers again. I need to read them and look at how the authors have constructed their arguments and have crafted their opus. I also need to finish the tedious task of getting my data together and organized. I have data. Oh, boy, do I have data. But it’s all over the place and it’s really only in a state where I am the only one who can interpret it (more on that later. That gives me an idea of something else I’d like to address).

The most daunting of all of the tasks before me to get that Brill monograph into shape is the phonology section. I have done preliminary phonological analysis of Sizang and I’ve since collected more words. I have immediate access to a native speaker for questions and I have gotten considerably better at discussing phonological theory since grad school. However, I still feel intimidated by the fact that I still have to delineate a LOT of information.

It’s in times like these that I can count my blessings of being able to attend a virtual linguistics conference or contribute to a volume with an old draft (more on that later, too). It’s reassurance that I haven’t lost touch and that I do know what I’m doing. I just wish that I could remember that in the times that I sit back down and try to write something for this book.

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