I’ve been in a writer’s funk for over two weeks now, which is causing great headaches since I’m responsible for rewriting the Achievement Gap discussion guide here in Central Texas. I’m basing the framework on the National Issues Forums guide, but incorporating Texas data from E3 Alliance. I’m using Study Circles Resource Center guides as the stylistic model. Nance Bell did the hard work of wading through the data and put language around it for me and Rick Olmos helped outline the big chunks so it should be easy to do, right?

I’m stumped. Up to my eyeballs in data. I feel like I’ve got three square pegs, four round holes and nothing is fitting.

But I think I’m rounding a corner and here’s why. I’ve written issue books before, but I started with people’s experiences and framed the guide around the stories. In this case,  I’m working within a framework and don’t have the stories in my head. My writing feels dull and academic, but today I started interviewing people. DY was passionate and her energy carried me long enough to hammer out five pages that aren’t half bad. Tomorrow, I’ve got a list of people to call and on Thursday, I’ll get ten hours of videotaped stories for inspiration.

This is starting to get fun!

The next time I do this, I’m starting with the stories. Forget the data. It just gummed up the works for me. You can always add it later. (Maybe this is a sign that I’m right to not pursue a Ph.D. If I’m struggling with these 24 pages, think what a dissertation would do to me!)