The following is a minute-by-minute account of my paper writing adventure last night. Let me be clear; I am usually much less asinine than this (I think)—it just so happens that, once or twice a term, I have a particularly grueling and uninteresting paper to write. Yes, it happens, even when you’re studying your ideal major. This blogpost is not indicative of my usual work study habits.
Note: I didn’t think of doing a live minute-by-minute account until later in the night, so you’ll first have to read these first few paragraphs that I’m writing after the fact.
It’s around 8:15pm. By word count, you’d say I’m halfway done the paper. By reality, I’m ¼ done. I’m writing about a narrow topic in metaphysics–in fact, I’m writing a critical assessment of a subargument made by a philosopher in a longer work. It bores me, I have a nagging suspicion that I don’t completely understand the material, and I can’t come up with anything particularly creative.
So far, my work has been interspersed with logging onto Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail. I’m starting to lose concentration, so what’s the natural thing to do? Call up my sister and cook us up a batch of Bran Krispies. This activity is beneficial for two reasons: one, I take my mind off the activity for a while, two, I create a cheaper and (somewhat) healthier version of late night snacks than I could get at Magda’s.
Through out the day, I notice I have been repeating several phrases to myself aloud, whenever I open a new browser to watch a YouTube video, or reply to a message online: “I really need to do this,” “I really have got to get this done,” “I will,” “I think I will,” “Don’t worry, it’s OK.”
I return to my computer. ”Look,” I tell myself, “I just need to close my internet browsers and I won’t get distracted.” This means no YouTube songs on. I’m stuck with the few songs I have on my computer; repeating Buble, Beatles, Mozart, Beethoven, and this random podcast that keeps on showing up on the Shuffle.
I can’t bring myself to disconnect from the internet completely so I open up an MSN conversation with a friend, who is also supposed to be writing an essay.
I pick up a cracker and it’s just so dry, it makes me sad.
At this point, I decide to make a pact with her; I will write, occasionally chat with her, then write more.
My productivity increases significantly.
The following are real, live, reports from the scene:
~11: 30 SOMEBODY EMAIL MEEEE. I get instant desktop notifications for those.
~11:40 I’ve watched ½ of The Notebook and somehow have no real motivation to finish this up to watch the rest.
11:42 Progress on essay—OK, I have a thesis now. I’m like, 1000 words in. You know you’re doing this wrong when.
11:57 Just put together a tortilla-chicken sandwich. I’m so proud of my chicken-cooking skill. I’m eating it at the computer.
12:07 NEW EMAIL!! OH. Boring newsletter.
12:09 It has suddenly dawned upon me that I probably won’t be completely finished until at least 2am. Sad face.
12:10 MOZART JUST DOESNT CUT IT FOR ESSAY MUSIC.
12:16 i hate when i accidentally click on the internet button rather than the mword button. I swear, it’s accidental. This time i closed it before coming up with something to type into google. So proud.
12:22 that moment where you come up from the depths of your essay, glance at the clock, and realize you forgot anything existed at all in the world except the essay’s content for 5 whole minutes. Take a deep breath and dive below the surface, again.
I could get 80+. I really could. It doesn’t matter that there isn’t much content here. Maybe there is. No, I can’t afford 70s. No no no no no.
12:26 WHY AM I STILL LISTENIGN TO MOZART?
12:28 this essay is as boring as the font, Times New Roman.
12:33 Productivity increases as time runs out. Or maybe it’s not a perfect curve. Note: Graph tonight’s performance.
1:19 ……..Why isn’t this over yet? I think I may get a 67%. Or a 63% or something equally hideous.
Can I just say I’m super happy that nothing terrible is happening? Like, what if my computer just died right now. Sure I’ve been emailing things to myself but life would be so much harder.
1:35 one last push over tough paragraphs
NEW EMAIL!!! Too short, no respite. Ts;nr.
This is my current music:
1:38 UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. JUST FINISH IT.
I have never written anything so poor.
1:56 im seriously contemplating watching the remaining hour of The Notebook, just as a breather. And because I’m worried I won’t get to it. I have several tough paragraphs to go.
2:05 I’m lying down on my side (on bed).
2:10 I’m watching The Notebook until 3. I will then wake up at 7:30, proceed to finish writing, take a nap, and then run out the door to class. Good night!
[Original meme: http://feministryangosling.tumblr.com/]
8:13 OK now it’s a 70%….
8:47 I can see this get an 80%….I may be delusional at this point, but who knows?
9:14 DONE. time for nap before class!