i am an incredible loser
I have a paper due tonight, about 13 hours from now. I finally settled on a topic...about 15 minutes ago. Not that I haven't been thinking about it for weeks—I have—and not that I haven't been researching around a general subject, because I've done that too, but I have this problem with "thinking big." It's the same problem I've always had as a student, because I don't see the value in doing anything small.
A less-than-10-pages essay is small. I never saw the point of them, other than the general idea that "hey look, you can write 3000 words about something." Well sure, I can do that, but why
? What value would I be adding to the greater discussion, if I spewed forth 8 or 10 pages about the use of salt in the novels of the 1860s? (Note: that's not the topic of my paper.) A few weeks ago I was finally smacked upside the head and informed that there is no point, there's not supposed to be a point, and no one expects you to contribute anything. That was good to hear. Unfortunately, as I went forth the next few weeks, happily researching around a topic and thinking "I can do this, no problem," I realized that I am still saddled with my own personal expectations and a terrible problem that requires me to be thorough in everything that I do.
But I can't be thorough in a short essay like this, and thus I have to write cop-out sentences about how the examples herein represent all that I could fit into 3000 words and in no way represent all the other things I know about, let alone that exist. I hate that.
So, I just wrote an outline. I never
write outlines. But an outline and a title is all I have at this point, besides a bunch of musty books and handwritten notes. Then there's this other stack of notes I took that would make for a lovely thesis if a) Victorian was even my preferred field and b) I was even in a graduate program.
I think I need more coffee.
1:42pm, I have written one-and-a-half pages. Whoop.
4:29pm, I have written three-and-three-quarter pages. This is not good progress. Or, to look at it as my wonderful, wonderful friend put it, "that's like almost close to sort of halfway. good job!" I think I'll look at it that way.