In New Age terms there is supposedly such a thing as a “psychic vampire”. The concept of the psychic vampire revolves around the idea that there are people out there who, by their mere presence, can suck the life out of you. Even standing beside them in line can produce effects not unlike those associated with being exsanguinated. I’m sure we have all encountered such people. It is my contention that there are certain modes of writing that have this same effect; namely academic writing.
I am in the final throes of my master’s degree and have spent the past two years steeped in APA format and educational research; questions of where to italicize the names of books and what information should be in the heading; consternation over in-text citation formatting and why the hell do we need APA when MLA works just fine. And now that I am working on my final project (akin to a thesis) I find that the desire and ability to do anything creative has completely left me. It is like my Capstone Project has drained me dry of interesting ideas or the thought processes by which to transfer said ideas to paper.
Why is academic writing so laborious? Is it because so much of what is written comes from a myriad of other sources? One would think it would be far more exhausting to come up with original thoughts to put on paper. Instead, research, analysis, data collection, abstracts, appendices and literature reviews are the proverbial nails in my creative coffin.
My hope is that three months from now after this project is done I will have experienced a literary transfusion of sorts and the ideas that have been dormant for two years will make themselves known. If not, I guess I’ll have to break out the crucifixes and garlic necklaces and wait patiently for daylight.