aswim in knits

Sunday, November 25, 2007

we interrupt this blog silence ...

... to bring you some bitching and moaning.

I have a paper due on Thursday. Instead of knitting and spinning, I am spending the weekend curled up on the guest room bed with my laptop and this:

I've been agonizing for days about what to write. It's keeping me from sleeping well. I am so stressed out about this stupid paper, it's brought me to tears. I've been mean to my very wonderful husband for no reason at all. I've clenched my teeth so tight that I'm getting headaches. My parents want to have dinner with us and I've refused, since every hour with them means time that I should be working on the paper.

I am a smart, capable, opinionated person. I should have no problem with this assignment. I got a "A" on the last paper for this professor, and this assignment is very similar. It's only 4 pages long. Yet, my brain has frozen. I can't seem to string together any coherent thoughts. Every time I think I've figured out how to approach the topic, I start to type and my mind turns to mush. Fear of failure.

I just want to finish this stupid assignment and sit on the couch and knit.

Why, why, why must I be such a perfectionist?

Back to the grindstone ...



  • Oh would you just start writing - commit to a thesis statement and go with it for a paragraph. If it doesn't gel, or if the process gets something better to come along, it'll be easy enough to redo :)

    I try two tactics when I'm frozen like this: Shelve it for an hour and knit - it'll percolate at the back of your brain; or just start and see what happens.

    By Blogger SaraSkates, at 3:42 PM  

  • That sucks - I hope inspiration comes soon. Was hoping to see you yesterday!

    By Blogger Pumpkinmama, at 4:10 PM  

  • Free write for a few pages and then start revising. WAY easier than trying to write perfectly from the get go.

    By Blogger Chris, at 6:11 PM  

  • I so relate. Just give yourself permission to do SOMETHING small. An outline? A paragraph? 100 words? And then it will flow. It's just getting past the first part.

    By Blogger Laurie, at 7:19 PM  

  • In my experience, if you just start the writing you will soon find that you have too much and will be editing it down to four pages. Always the way. I have nothing to say until I start and then: too much. Sort of like this blogging month. heh.

    By Anonymous Teresa C, at 8:05 PM  

  • Do you have a way to record voice notes, like maybe with your MP3 player? If you're stuck, do something else (like take a walk) and let your subconscious work on it, but find a way to capture your thoughts as they occur so you don't lose them.

    Looks like you've been researching and working hard at shaping this; often a little slack time gives you the Eureka moment where you see what it all means.

    By Blogger BerkeleyBecca, at 7:53 AM  

  • Ok, I have some ideas: 1). go for a walk. this worked wonders for me in college, often I'd write the paper in my head while I walked. No iPod, no music.
    2). knit.

    By Blogger Mini, at 8:09 AM  

  • years ago in grad school, i was working on this assignment -- i was to design a study -- 10 pages long -- including tons of research. i had a pile of references about a foot tall and i had an idea for my "experiment" but everything i wrote seemed forced and most importantly false. but it was due in two days and i needed to prepare an oral presentation on this topic as well.

    and then, on the day before it was due, i was sitting on the number one bus on my way to work amid the crazies, thinking about how crappy this paper was going to be, and i got the light bulb moment. seriously. i think there were even angels. the puzzle all came together in that one moment and i literally ran from the bus stop to my office and scrapped everything but the first two paragraphs (the literature review part). it all fell together. and i got it done and an A.

    so, i think you need to free your mind a little. go out with a friend for coffee. take a ride on the number 1 bus.

    and it'll come together. and if you have to, ask for an extension. you're in grad school now. if my experience is any indication, grad school profs are a little soft ;).

    By Blogger maryse, at 9:25 AM  

  • Hang in there, it'll come, and in all probability, be better than you think it is/will be.

    By Anonymous Pi.Grrrl, at 9:43 AM  

  • Lady, this is something I discuss IN THERAPY. That's right, I need REAL professional help with writing papers. Letting myself writing "crap" has been the only way I can get going. I just start writing as though I'm blog posting, and then I go back and tighten it up, add quotes, references, etc. It's still difficult to hand over work that it's "good enough" but I force myself!

    Sometimes I bargain with myself--if I write a page, I can knit for 10 minutes, or something like that.

    You can do it!

    By Blogger Cirilia, at 10:52 AM  

  • Go for a bike ride. Seriously. There's something about using the large muscles and hand-eye coordination that gets the paper-writing part of the brain (the more cerebral part, presumably that would be the cerebrum?) humming along in the background and eventually coming up with great ideas. For me at least it also has something to do with movement and change of scenery; I don't think it's coincidence that Maryse's angels visited her on a bus.

    By Blogger Lucia, at 12:15 PM  

  • Oh man, i know exactly how you feel. That's the worst. I usually sit there at the computer and play minesweeper for hours, hoping inspiration will hit. Not very helpful, I know.

    By Anonymous Cheryl, at 1:29 PM  

  • :( i feel ya. this is why i kind of don't want to ever go back to school.

    By Blogger gleek, at 8:51 PM  

  • It hurts just reading this post! Ugh. I've been there and it is a truly sucktastical place to find yourself in. Courage, sister.

    By Anonymous Beth S., at 11:34 AM  

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