03 September, 2005

Procrastination or Not?

I can't decide whether this idea is yet another way I'm trying to avoid work I don't want to do (ie, writing the chapter). I was thinking that it might be a good plan to write a bibliographic essay, to make myself think in a consistent way about the historians I'm responding to in my dissertation. It would probably take a week to re-read my notes on the books I've already read, and to "gut" the books I haven't read, so that I have a sense of what their arguments are.

The benefit would be that I'd have something to refer to as I'm writing, because once I start writing, everything I know (both about writing and about the subject matter) tends to fly straight out of my head.

The downside would be that it would be entirely for my own uses, and wouldn't show my advisor that I'm actually getting any work done. And it wouldn't move me forward in the dissertation (except that, well, I might actually end up paying attention to what other people have said, and engaging with the literature).

Thoughts from other academics would be helpful. Thanks!


Wintermute said...

I work at a research lab and I've written
a book. No Phd however. But I do know
a bit about procrastination. Anything
that keeps you moving forward is good.
It's hard to make progress with something
you hate. So if going back and reading
the literature and making notes and
outlines helps, do it.

I also recommend setting up a schedule.
Write, and read, on that schedule. John
Le Carre wrote once that if you write
a good paragraph everyday, you'll have
a book when the year is out. You may
need to write more, but I've always
found Le Carre's comment inspiring.

Oh, and of course, frequent, hard
bare bottom spankings. I think that
helps too. Studies have shown that
the Vermont Country Store Bath Brush,
used to administer a spanking, is
positively correlated with progress
on academic thesises (and with a sore



Handspan said...

Bath brush, eh?

We've got one of those.

Dyke Grrl said...

The bath brush is a Very Bad Idea, sweetie, because you *know* that it's Very Noisy!

(Dyke Grrl moseys into the bathroom to hide the bath brush, even though it does great double duty as a back *scratcher*.)

Anonymous said...

Frequent hard bare bottom spankings are also credited in recent studies with increased inteligence and the retention of learned information. Enjoy.