I am in slough at the moment. Not any particular slough, just… slough in general. Except with respect to getting sorted the nine hundred and umpty something relatively minor medical and allied health things which I’ve been putting off for… up to four years, in some cases. By the end of this semester, I will have had blood tests, ultrasounds, retinal scans, dental check-ups, and, if I get around to the last item on the list, new orthodics! And also whatever unknown tests the new specialist may or may not want to put me through.
In order to achieve all this, I’m being very efficient with making appointments! Unfortunately, everything else in my life seems to require high-octane efficiency powers at the moment. Or sustained attention; or both. I’m aware that this constitutes, well, life. But I’m still trying to figure out how to be moderately functional in the rest of my life, and proficient in my teaching, and functional at thesis-writing. I can do brilliant short-term tunnel vision, but long-term tunnel vision is… not really sustainable, and also not brilliant for maintaining one’s status as a functioning human being.
And writing is like drawing blood out of a stone. Any form of writing can, I’m finding, end up like this: emails! LJ! Fiction! Poetry! Academia! All the things I like, basically. Sometimes all of them at once. Arranging words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs and and and I just don’t wanna.
I’m working on a set of ways around this. Thus far I have:
- absolved myself from writing coherently until teaching is over. I still have to write, it just doesn’t have to be coherent sentences or paragraphs. Unless someone’s assessing it – my annual review paperwork will, I suppose, have to be coherent. SIGH.
- tinkered with my thesis topic to come up with a way around the repeat “why the hell am I doing this and how can I do it without that ONE CRUCIAL PIECE OF SCHOLARSHIP WHICH I ASSUMED SOMEONE ELSE HAD DONE BUT ACTUALLY THEY HAVEN’T”. This really makes my life worse, since I have to make new plans and justify them in my annual review. But it’s making me feel a lot better about what I’m doing.*
- remembered that WriSoMiFu exists! Write Something You Miserable Fuck is for those who do not have the fortitude for NaNoWriMo. WriSoMiFu is open to any kind of writing: fiction, non-fiction, essays, theses, journals, fanworks, blog posts, poetry, random crap you typed up just to pass your daily writing requirement. The community specialise in pessimism and bitching, but, from what I saw last year, participants actually seem to get things done! Frequently at a rate of far more than the minimum 10 minutes per day. Last year I can’t remember what I wrote: probably a hotchpotch of things, including poetry. This year I’ll limit my WriSo-eligible writing to thesis content, and if nothing else, I have a built-in set of people to complain to every day.
As far as motivation goes, I’m sure sensible people come up with bright, cheery motivational matras to do with how much they love their work. Bright and cheery is overrated. I am reminding myself of something I’ve already learnt the hard way. I might be kind of hating this right now, but I’d rather be hating this than be comfortably doing something else. As encouraging thoughts go, it’s working pretty well.
* Lawrence, on the off-chance you’re still reading the blogosphere while you’re on leave, this should go a long way to solving the “why the hell do we care” problem.