I promised myself I wouldn't blog today until I had written at least a couple of good paragraphs of my current paper. And, well, it's 3:44 and I am finally allowing myself to blog. Expect the same tomorrow, and the next day, and the next...until this thing is done.
I'm having a hell of a time getting this paper written. Part of the problem is motivation. This is the first time I've had to go straight from one big writing project to another without some fun field work or data analysis to change the scenery. Also, this is the part of my diss. that I have always been least interested in. It's pretty esoteric. And then there's the pregnancy hormones which have the side effect of not allowing me to concentrate on anything at all. ever. Not that I am thinking about baby stuff all the time, because I. can't. concentrate.
Then's there's the problems with the paper topic itself. Like I said, it's esoteric. Basically, I have a bunch of observations of phenomena and then I'm going to wave my arms, cite some other people's phenomena observations, and link them all together as a process. And nobody's written about this process before (except in the most arm-wavy style). And even some of the subprocesses haven't been much explored.
Even before I got to the arm-waving part of the paper I was having problems writing. For a while I deluded myself into believing that I didn't have to arm-wave. Then the problem was that the paper wasn't leading anywhere and I wasn't sure what I had to talk about. I spent several days in this state, redoing an analysis and staring blankly at the computer. Finally, one evening, I got three good paragraphs written on a scrap of paper and I started to feel better.
The next morning I walked into the building feeling quite happy. My advisor was in his office and I stopped to chat. After briefly congratulating me on my paper acceptance, he asked me how this paper was coming. Actually, he asked me how well I was able to constrain the process (i.e., do the arm-wavy magic). Shit. I'd been pretending I didn't need to do that. But he was insistent.
Suddenly I went from feeling like I was 2/3 done with the paper to feeling like I was 1/3 done. I felt like doing an adequate job on the discussion was going to take me a month of paper reading and slowly writing. But in order to stay on the defense schedule, I had to have the whole thing done in 2 weeks. Eek!
I took the weekend off (RaftWoman's wedding party followed by His Dark Materials) and launched myself into writing on Monday morning. Except that I haven't. In the past two days, I've managed to produce about 1.5 pages and cross out two of the nine sub-processes I need to discuss. At this rate, I'll be really lucky to finish the discussion section by early next week, leaving me only a few days to draft figures, finish several other sections, and stay on schedule. And I'm starting to think that the amount of time I've allotted myself to write the diss. intro, conclusions, revise, and format is rather too little. Eek!
Anyways, I'm sorry for venting so long. This post has been building up for a week+ now and it had to come out sometime. All I can do is do the best I can do. If worse comes to worse, the defense can be postponed. But I'm not going to cross that bridge yet.