Mark Graber é professor da Faculdade de Direito da Universidade de Maryland.
How do you start your day? Do you have a morning routine?
If I am working at home, I start writing at 7:00, after having an iced tea, a bagel and playing a speed chess game online.
What time of day do you work best? Do you have any preparation rituals before you start writing?
I am a morning person. No special ritual.
Do you have marathon writing sessions or do you write a little every day? Do you have a daily writing goal?
Given teaching and service responsibilities, there are days I cannot write and days I can devote entirely to writing. I begin each day with a writing goal, which can be anything from nothing to write an entire section.
How is your writing process? Once you’ve compiled enough notes, is it difficult to begin? How do you move from research to writing?
Curiously, I try to write a draft after I am only halfway through the research process. That tells me if the project will “write” and what more research I will do. So I alternate writing and research, until my research tells me no more writing or my writing tells me no more research.
How do you deal with writing blocks, such as procrastination, the fear of not meeting the expectations and anxiety of working on long projects?
Long bicycle rides. The advantage of tenure is my standards are strictly my own, so I worry a lot about my expections, but not any one else.
How often do you review your texts before you feel they are ready? Do you show your work to anyone before it’s finished?
Most texts go through multiple revisions. I try to present projects early, to see if they will “write” and late, to see if they have “written.” But I confess to being a bit of a loner. When I am happy, the thing gets sent off.
How is your relationship with technology? Do you write your first drafts by hand or on the computer?
I use a computer. Poorly. But my handwriting is worse.
Where do your ideas come from? Is there a set of habits that you cultivate to stay creative?
Darn if I know. I have most of them on bicycle rides. I think well when exercising.
What do you think has changed in your writing process over the years? What would you tell yourself if you could go back in time to writing your thesis?
I think to think I struggle more now to write. But I think writing is always a struggle. I am more willing to wander as I get older.
What project would you like to do but have not started yet? What book would you like to read and it does not exist yet?
Need to write a comparative history of different minorities in the United States and do more comparative projects. A really good book including the United States in a political construction of judicial power.