Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Field Notes: Overthinking Things

I have been stoically attempting to pen my first proof argument for the past week. I sit down to write, notes at hand, and nothing flows.

I love to write. I have such fun weaving the details of my ancestors lives into a pleasant to read story. I love the sleuthing, the studying of historical events pertinent to the times. But for some reason the idea of writing something a serious as a proof argument (my first ever!) is unimaginably daunting.

What if I get it wrong? There are standards for these sorts of things, after all.

In my heart I want it to be an engaging story, but arguing the proof is really more cut and dried, isn't it? And maybe I'm not so much arguing the proof as connecting the dots and explaining to you, the reader, why I concluded what I concluded. The facts are convincing, but limited. The time period does not lend itself to many pieces of evidence.

What if I'm wrong?

I have dreams about this beast nightly.

My logical self says it's right, I've been working on this particular link for over seven years just waiting for the evidence to show itself. My Doubting Thomas side however, is telling me another thing ....

Maybe I'm just surprised that I'm the one who figured it out. Sort of feel like I stumbled upon something. Then again, I might be the only one researching this particular family connection ....

I've gone over the proof standard criteria about a million times. I've read articles and watched webinars about writing a proof argument. I think I'm over loaded ... and overthinking things. (Are you laughing at me? I'm laughing at me!)

I've second and third guessed myself.

It's time to stop "enlightening" myself and just write, right?

(Any thoughts, suggestions, words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for reading!)


  1. It sounds like you've done the work and need to get past the "story telling" and just show what you've found and draw your conclusion. You can do it! :)

  2. You like to write, so write this out in any form that please you. Tell your story; put all your ducks in a row. VOILA! You will have a good first draft.

    Now look at what you have written. What parts aren't relevant to a good proof argument? Strike the out. What parts are out of order? Rearrange them. You get the idea!

    No one said that your first draft has to be correct. Just think of all the authors — of both exposition and of fiction — who have had wastebaskets full of awkward writings before they show the world their well thought out prose!

    1. Thanks Sue! That's a great idea! And one I can do - I'll work on it today!