Entry 80: Ideas Abound

Editor’s Note: This is the 80th installment in Van Jackson’s daily writing journal, “Nuke Your Darlings,” which tracks his six-month battle to write a new book on North Korea. Will he meet his deadline?

I wrote just over 200 words today on the sidelines of the conference. I’m so close to the finish line (with the first draft anyway) for this book, and I’m so out of steam. I am physically tired, totally harried, and stuck in fast-brain mode while conferencing. I’m losing steam for all those reasons. But I’ve also got future research projects on my mind that are distracting me from the task in front of me.

The conversations I’ve been having the past couple days have gotten me really jazzed about half a dozen research ideas waiting on the other side of this book. My mind’s all stimulated with moving forward on books and articles that I can’t actually tackle for another couple months at earliest.

At the beginning of this project, I thought I’d be able to work on multiple projects simultaneously because that’s what I’d always done. Toggle back and forth, no big deal. I’ve never had a six-month timeline to deliver a book from scratch though, and it’s been humbling to discover how that has forced me to be more single-minded than I’m accustomed to.

Here’s to hoping I get on the plane and have a burst of writing productivity.


Van Jackson is a senior editor at War on the Rocks and an associate editor of the Texas National Security Review. He is also a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington, and the Defence & Strategy Fellow at the Centre for Strategic Studies.