I've been thinking about the sacrifices we make, large and little, for our scholarly livelihoods. Specifically I'm thinking about what we give up in order to finish our books, take those desirable jobs, finish our theses. I started musing about this when I emailed a friend to ask him how he got his first book out so early in his career. Did he give up two extra hours of sleep per day? Skip lunch like my friend when she was on leave at an archive? His modest response was that he had a lot of free time in the first two years. (So the mystery remains).
But accustomed as I am to a comfortable lifestyle, I can't help wondering if I'd get more writing done, more articles finished and more books read if I gave something up. And I'm not counting my current celibacy- that's a consequence of living where I do.
When I was finishing my dissertation I did sacrifice sleep. And also cleaning the house, eating healthfully and doing any grocery shopping or cooking or exercise whatsoever.
What kinds of sacrifices have you made or are willing to make for your scholarship? Would you give up sleep or lunch or television or a spouse just to finish your book? Have you?
Why am I so drawn to sacrifice anyway? Maybe it's because I like to think that if I give something up in the symbolic economy, I'll somehow be rewarded with something else, i.e. book completion. Maybe giving something up would make me feel more pious and less hedonistic. Or maybe it's the influence of my former dissertation adviser, who advises that writing itself ought to be painfully difficult- if it's not, then you're not getting anywhere.
What should I give up this summer in order to finish my book? (Please don't say blogging . . .)