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    Sobriquet 38.16

    Tuesday, January 15, 2008
    I woke up this morning (I say "morning" because it was morning in the Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones) and fought the temptation to go back to bed all day. In fact, I fought several different, equally compelling, forces: the aforementioned desire to succumb to sweet, sweet slumber; an overwhelming urge not to do any work; and, strangely, the desire to just go ahead and start writing the next section of my chapter.

    The underlying issue, I think, is the fact that I detest writing outlines with such passion that negative energy wells up inside me at an astounding pace every time I remember that I need to do one. Outlines, for me, have almost always been extraneous, tedious wastes of time and energy. In grade school, for instance, I would write an essay before writing the outline because it was easier that way. As I got older, I began to see the value of outlines, at least as a way to think on paper, but I still found that I had already plotted out my papers-to-be in my mind, and found arranging my ideas with Roman numerals and lowercase letters did next to nothing to make my paper any better. So I struggled with that much of the afternoon, procrastinating, driving around, cleaning, and doing pretty much anything but write an outline. Fortunately, to quell my anxieties (stemming from the fact that I'd not done much work), I read a few more chapters in The Master of Petersburg and plan to finish it on Friday.

    Still, I'd promised myself that I would plan things out in outline form, and I did. Eventually. I suppose it helped a bit, but I only wrote maybe a page worth of stuff. I should probably spend some time picking out examples and selecting quotations before I write the stupid thing, but I loathe doing so. I mean, I realize that irrigating a field requires that one dig little channels for the water before unleashing the flood, but still...what boring, idiotic, mind-numbing work!

    So, I guess that's what I will try to do tomorrow and/or Thursday: go through my notes again, find the passages I want to work with again, arrange them again, and hopefully end up with a well-written paper. Part of the difficulty I am having, too, probably originates in the growing sense of I want this blanking thing done now! that has been growing in me these past few years. There's something about being thirty (or, almost thirty) and still being a student that irks me. I mean, there's nothing wrong with going to school at any age, really, but I am plum tuckered out from spending all but one of the past twenty-five years in school. So, when I see the outline adding another day or two to the writing process standing between me and finished!, I can't help but buck a bit, writhing in the throes of immature I doan wanna! But I will try to push through the damn thing, knowing now more than ever before that I will need to build breaks into my schedule. After I finish the section on Age of Iron, I think, I should take more than a day or two off. Maybe give myself a week filled with day trips, junk food, and prodigal spending habits? We'll see.

    But that's how I am today.

    For tomorrow: Read another twenty pages in The Master of Petersburg and try, just try to get some more planning done for the second part of the chapter.

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  1. I always thought outlines were a ridiculous waste of time, too. At least for the purposes of writing anyway. I'd write them out only if I was going to be graded on it. I never wrote them out otherwise; I'd wing it instead. I found winging it more effective than outlining because I'd inevitably forget to work something into my outline and was therefore more likely to forget to work it into my paper and/or have to rework the entire outline before I started writing. Writing down my ideas as they came was infinitely easier and more practical to me. I didn't mind outlines for note-taking, but that's different because I only used those outlines to study and I never actually had to write the outline myself, I just copied from what the professors had on the blackboard.

    By Blogger minxy on 16 January, 2008

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