You'd think, as the daughter of two academics, I'd be the kind who whips out term papers and essays and dissertations with nary a whisper of moaning or complaint. You'd think my papers would get written before I even started writing. I'd be the one from your tutorial that you hated, the one who'd sit down at her laptop, typing out "the whole thing", whatever that might be, start to finish: 15,000 words, 10 hours flat. Then I'd be the one standing up, saying, "There's that, then. I need a cuppa tea."
T'aint so. I'm working on a Master's Degree dissertation, and the words are coming slowly, so slowly. It's like watching a glacier melt. (Quicker now that we've got global warming, but still not particularly inspiring.) And I can't allow myself to do anything else until this blasted thing is finished. So there's not much movement over at my place. Next summer I plan to go outside once or twice. The Vitamin D loss here is worrying.
My slowness? It's something related to perfectionism. I want this thing to be perfect. And I'm terrified that it won't be. Funny, I once (ill-advisedly) wrote a paper for someone else. He was doing a degree in an osteopathic program, but he couldn't write his way out of a paper bag. He begged me, "C'mon, it'll just be a piss-up for you. You can do this sh** in your sleep." True. I wrote the paper for him in an afternoon, knowing nothing about osteopathy other than what I could find on Wikipedia and in a couple of anatomy books, and got two A's and a B on it. Hmmm. I might be a wonderful writer, but you definitely don't want to come see me with any of your medical problems. (You probably don't want to see him either, as I think he washed out.) But it was so easy to write that osteopathy paper, because I knew the tutor's opinion wasn't going to mean anything to me. There was no possibility that I might disappoint.
But now? I'm working on a project I love, about something I've been studying for 3 years, and have been interested in my whole life. And it's just soooooooo slowwwwwww.
I so much want to be finished with this dissertation. I want to drop it in the post and bid it adieu.
Readers: Anyone have any tips, tricks for fooling oneself into writing more, better, faster?