Overcome the "embarrassment syndrome" in writing...
Students get stuck with writing in all kinds of places! Even when I overcome one obstacle a new challenge presents itself.
This month, I noticed a number of colleagues suffering from the "Embarrassment Syndrome."
They did not want their advisers to see their, as Anne Lamott would say, their "shitty first drafts." Or even their shitty second drafts.
They are embarrassed.
I'm Sorry You Have "Muffin Top"
I told one colleague, "you just need to let your adviser into your changing room." She laughed and like the analogy so I am sharing it with you.
Your advisers are for writing what your good friends are when shopping. A good friend tells you if the jeans you tried on give you muffin top or if that color makes you look like you have a hangover.
Have you ever been to a dressing room that has three or more mirrors? You see all sides of yourself...and sometimes it's horrifying. That's what a good adviser does...they act as the multiple mirror system. They help you see your blindspots not to mock you; they do it to help you fix it.
I deliberately picked committee members who live in my blindspots. My chair helped me see assumptions I was making and my other committee member always caught when my thinking got sloppy and incomplete.
I let them see me messy and while it was uncomfortable at first eventually I got used to them being in my dressing room and commenting on my work.
Faculty Have Shitty Drafts Too
The Chair of our Doctoral Program told me he wants to reinstate a program that invites students to working sessions with faculty. In these sessions faculty bring really rough drafts and students can see the process of working through from crap to published.
You can hide until your work is perfect. The impact, however, is that you risk set backs and missing out on the incredible opportunity of working together.
Moving quickly with support is worth a little criticism, don't you think?
Pop a little draft of something to your adviser today...
Sarah Federman, PhD