Rough Theory

Theory In The Rough

Itinerant Conversations on Dissertation Writing

I seem to find myself having stray conversations about dissertation writing around and about the blogosphere.

Over at Sarapen, we’ve been having a conversation that started with Benjamin – specifically Benjamin’s comment that “The work is the death mask of its conception” – a particularly depressing observation that, unfortunately, tends to capture perfectly how I feel about the final stages of any writing process… We’ve now moved on to the topic of procrastination, with Sarapen wanting to know:

You know, everyone I know who’s in academia claims to be a procrastinator. Statistically, you’d think at least one person would be on top of things, but no, whenever the subject of procrastination comes up there inevitably follows anecdotes of oneupmanship: “You played video games all weekend even though the paper you haven’t started is due on Monday? Well I broke into my professor’s house and slipped my paper into his marking pile even though it was two days late.”

Surely somehow, somewhere, there has existed at least one academic who has never felt the guilt of procrastination?

Anyone want to step forward???

And over at Acephalous, Scott Eric Kaufman explains his recent blogging strategies:

Because minutiae oppress me, words fail me and with every day the odds of my future career in real estate increase ever so slightly.

In another post, he worries about the quantity of work required to finish, and I respond:

On the one hand, I’m writing a lot. On the other, I’m not completely sure what it is that I’m writing, exactly… Since much of it relates to my field material, it bears a striking similarity to primary school presentations on ‘What I Did Last Summer’… Do they actually award doctorates for stories about what I did last summer? It doesn’t take a terribly dark moment for me to suspect that the answer will be no…

2 responses to “Itinerant Conversations on Dissertation Writing

  1. Kyle April 10, 2007 at 5:04 am

    I think most grad students feel like procrastinators because they make a distinction between working and getting things done. Many fellow students who I think are on top of things tend to feel like they are not accomplishing things even though they are writing, researching, etc. So, yes some people are not procrastinators, but nearly all feel like they are mostly because you feel like you are never done.

  2. N Pepperell April 10, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    And then there are those of us who simply are never done…

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