|Anatomy of a paper
||[May. 15th, 2006|08:50 am]
Friday: Go home to work on paper. Get...distracted by hubby. Get to work. Stop for Dr. Who. Accomplish writing two pages. At end of day, 8 pages out of 40 written.
Saturday: Spend entire day in front of computer. Accomplish jack. Read some research, do a little more research. At end of day, 8 pages out of 40 written.
Sunday: Panic. Flail about, feel completely buried in paper. Have meaningful Mother's Day phone conversations with daughters and mother. Flail a bit more. Decide to actually organize research. Pile white papers all over office floor. Finaly find some focus. At end of day, 19 pages out of 40 written.
Monday: Get up at 4am. Remember that there is a good reason why I used to get up at 4am. By 6am, stop working on paper in order to work out. At end of morning, 22 pages out of 40 written.
I've spent the last couple weeks feeling constitutionally incapable of getting up early in the morning. As a result, I am out of shape, my paper is not yet finished, and I am behind the 8 ball in all sorts of ways.
If I can simply repeat the process for 4 more mornings this week, I will easily complete my paper (it's not technically due until the 30th, but I want it out of the way).
This seems to be a pattern with me - working around the edges of a project, flailing, and then finally settling in and getting it done. It's not an efficient way to work. And if I could just shrug and say that there was no reason to worry about it now, being done with school, that would be great. But working in the law means researching and writing. I'm not going to get away from it. I need to find a way to be more efficient at it.
2006-05-15 01:18 pm (UTC)
It's not an efficient way to work.
You know right now this is your pattern, and you have recognized it, use it now and afterward you will slowly change it.....it might be inefficient to your mind's eye yet it works for you, so you will find yourself getting up early and having it done......sending you positive vibes and tons of coffee energy!
2006-05-15 01:28 pm (UTC)
Re: It's not an efficient way to work.
Coffee energy is goooood.
Yeah, but I've been doing it for years now. :-/
i used to feel all kinds of guilty about the initial paper writing stages. what is worse is that the guilt would cause me to delay further. however, what i have learned is that there is just as much work going on during the days when i don't get any words on the page. i have proved this to myself with the vicious panic cycle that occurs when i try to research *while* writing the paper. of course, it often happens that the paper moves in new ways as i'm writing, resulting in new research. that is ok. it is when i'm still thrasing out the main drift and starting to write that the awfulness kicks in. for my latest paper, i was downright relaxed as i did nothing but skim through sources for the first week. there was still pain before it was over, but i was done earlier than i have been in the past with less panic.
You mean I should get all Zen about my style? Probably. If I could get over my terror that somehow I won't get anything done, that would probably work....
Granted, I'm just an undergraduate fool who just started using outlines (no lie, I managed to get by on vaguely-organized papers until this, my junior year of college, with a bemused comment on how I made great points, but that they snuck up on my thesis), but here's something that works for me:
Find out when paper is due. Pick reasonable ammount of pages to write per day (2, 3, 5?) and extrapolate back to a date to begin. Try and write that much per day - if you err on the small side, you get days when you're in The Zone and bang out 1.5 or 2 times your RDA of pages, thus ensuring that if you have a crappy day in the middle, you'll still have time to catch up, and if you're chugging along, you'll get done early. By erring on the small side, too, you'll be tempted to push yourself 'just one more page', and by having a quota, you can stop once you've hit it and then be all 'WHEE REST OF THE DAY OFF'.
As always, your mileage may vary. (Plus I already know you're more discipline than me, as the bike riding shows. ;P)
Wow. I apologize if that makes no sense. (I blame paper-writing burn-out, myself.)
It did, though. No worries!
Yeah, that's where I was this morning - I'm at 22 pages, which means if I write three pages in the morning and one in the evening every day for the rest of this week, I will be done by the end of the week. (I know it's not due for another 10 days, but I really want to have it done before graduation!)
Good luck! I'll be sending out happy vibes as soon as I'm done with mine (which will be done just under the wire, alas).
Usually that's how I work too...I do all this preparatory busy work, and then waffle in front of the computer...finishing my ISP project was like that except that I spent 2 weeks ONLY researching and making notecards so that when I got stuck in the actual typing process, I could always at least type up the quotes I'd found, and then usually the process of elaborating and setting them up settled my head into analytical thought mode.