I feel stupid. Or, rather … I don’t feel like I’m as smart as I used to be. And I’m not totally sure why that is.
I’m an English major (totally stereotypical). Between my undergraduate and graduate school, I spent ~6 years immersed in critical analysis of novels and other texts. But that ended almost 10 years ago.
And in those 10 years I have gotten out of the practice of that analysis. Of that deep thinking and making connections between seemingly unrelated things. And as I work on my first novels, trying to make them worthy of being categorized in the ‘literary fiction’ genre, I want those skills back.
I feel stupid.
Maybe because I work with people much smarter than me.
Maybe because I spent last year reading a lot of just-ok YA novels.
Maybe because I haven’t actively created or launched any new products in about 2 years.
I need to fix this. I don’t like feeling stupid.
All my belongings were delivered on Friday, so I now have all my books again. Including books like this and this and this which will absolutely scratch that academia itch. I’ve been reading a lot of ebooks lately, and I miss having the physical books. Physical books with orange pen in hand.
Some plans and ideas I have ….
- Read (and re-read) the lit-crit books I already have.
- Read (and re-read) the novels I studied in college/grad school
- Actively seek out academic journals and papers
- Deliberately make notes about the books I’m reading
- Write academic papers?
I mean that last one …. seems like such an indulgence. Writing academic articles as a hobby? What would I do with them? I can’t imagine them being good enough for any kind of publication. But the practice of articulating my ideas might be useful?
I’m not sure. What do you think?
I DO have my Master’s thesis (and I’ve mentioned this before) …. it’s about Harry Potter and memory and material culture, and I wrote it before the 7th book came out. I’ve long wanted to revise it (substantially) and self-publish it in case anyone else out there is a super-nerd like me. Maybe this will be the year I finish that.
I’ve been doing morning pages, which helps some. But it’s still not that academic critique that I (genuinely) love.
I need a challenge.
Recommendations? What do you do to challenge yourself intellectually?