Tuesday, July 30, 2013

on writing: when you can no longer trust yourself ..?

// from sunday, 28 july 2013 @12:19 EEST:

currently i'm editing this one manuscript for the .. who knows: 27th? 41st?.. $n$th time and it's getting to the point where it's hard to spot errors, however significant or small. i blame this on the general principle that the more exposure i have to this thing, the more familiar and not-out-of-the-ordinary it seems. (in other words, i've lived with this thing long enough that maybe, unconsciously, i believe it to be true.)

so i've decided on a different tack, which hardly seems efficient. i don't know any other way, though [1].

each time i think about proofreading the manuscript again, (1) i pick a random lemma, (2) i take out a few blank pages and try to prove it on my own, and (3) becoming aware of what is tricky about it, i focus on those parts in the writeup ..

.. and inevitably find gaps. they're getting smaller and less significant, though, so maybe it's some measure of progress?

at any rate, i had in mind (perhaps too optimistically) to send the manuscript to a big shot in the field today; let's see if i can actually keep to my word!

epilogue (29 july 2013): i didn't keep my word.
on the other hand, i found another gap and patched it.

[1] i've been given the advice before to read every line and check if it is true. in principle it's the best way to guarantee that a manuscript is as correct and consistent as possible, but i always fall short (and by a big margin): i guess i'm just that impatient .. \-:

No comments: