Eagle’s Eye View
When I began my dissertation some moons ago, I attended a workshop where I learned a few strategies and approaches that I still use today when I write.
The workshop facilitator, Dr. Cynthia Ganote, a sociologist and life coach, is now a professor of sociology at St. Mary’s College in California. She offered us two important and companionable images: keep the big picture in mind (take the eagle’s eye view) and also take small steps (go at a turtle’s pace). For years I kept handmade posters over my desk that showed my big, long term goals to complete the dissertation, and more bite-sized goals.
Seeing the big picture and knowing where to focus are skills learned with a lot of practice. It is especially hard to see the big picture when we are not sure where we are going. Stepping back to see the fuller view, take in the forest, soar like an eagle or osprey over a project can be overwhelming. Yet when I can zoom out and consider the larger picture, and what is at stake in a project, I am more motivated, clearer in my thinking, and less distracted.
When I can see from the eagle’s eye view, the turtle steps are also less likely to take me off the path. Sometimes I can become very preoccupied with turtle steps, writing small sections or doing lesser tasks without keeping my purposes clear. So catching a wing from time to time (like weekly and monthly) helps me keep the big picture, the purpose of the writing, fixed in my mind and guides me in the daily practices of drafting, outlining, revising, researching, editing and finishing the project.
This post brought to you by the letter E.