I need an editor and academic advisor. I can't do without one any more. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to proceed? Or with whom? Or through what institution?
Money is *not* available right now. Nor will it be in the near future. But I'm stuck stuck stuck stuck.
I know what I think, and I'm doing my homework, and I'm aware of many landmines and wrinkles within my topic. If you've been following the blog these past six months, you can see the new day job has given me TONS of time to think carefully and thoroughly and I've made progress. What I'm struggling with is the writing.
What happened is that I finally submitted a paper to SBL. It was one of "many fine" submissions that were "too many to accept". So that's okay. My plan was (is?) to continue submitting. But I find myself second guessing each paragraph and completely of two minds about such editing choices.
It's not that I can't keep writing and submitting. It's that I suddenly feel groundless. What I submitted may or may not have been good enough to present. But self-doubt isn't hardly the problem. The problem is that I know it can always be better, and I'm fighting that battle between "finished" and "done". The perfect is the enemy of the good. But as an amateur, I feel it's an appropriate concern that anything I submit better be really, really, really impeccable.
In past years, when I faced a block such as this, I'd switch topics and hope for a breakthrough eventually. What I've found is that breakthroughs do come but only in thinking, in argument, in understanding. That isn't nearly my problem. It's the writing. I just don't have enough confidence and experience in communicating with my intended audience (New Testament Scholars) to make good, firm, clear-headed decisions about paper content, style, approach, footnote moderation, and argument strategy.
I've come at this thing six different ways. I can revise it again. I can keep trying. None of that is the problem.
The problem is I have no guidance on which of these multiple options might work best.
I guess, in lieu of other options at the moment, I just have to write all six versions and hope to submit the best one by chance. Apart from divine guidance, which - though I don't know about you - never seems to come to me in such a finely tuned form, I will be firing blind.
I guess the only thing to do is embrace that, and to fire away.
But I'm more than willing to be rescued here, if anyone feels so gallantly moved...