Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Creative Process: Prepare to Be Dazzled

As some of you may know I currently have two big projects keeping me in Chicago right now: the first is my MPH thesis, and the second is a manuscript I'm writing up of more research I did last year. I want to get the first half of the manuscript done and sent back to my PI, before I finish up the data analysis for my thesis. I've written a 22-page paper before entirely overnight so I'm not too worried about my thesis. My rough draft is due in a week and I've got 5 pages done. Not to fear! A lot of people say they do their best work under pressure; I take it one step further and say I only work under pressure.

My writing process is a little different from most though. It involves A LOT of internet surfing, stalking my elementary schoolmates on Google, staring at my teeth in the mirror, calling all my friends to see what they're up to, scrutizining everyone's picture albums on Facebook, baking a chocolate cake (I did that last night!), checkin' out the sales on Bluefly, and finally, polishing off the cake, lying facedown on the floor moaning for 3 hours wondering how I got myself into this mess and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD I WILL NEVER PROCRASTINATE AGAIN BECAUSE IT SUCKS SO SO HARD before finally rising, phoenix-like from my toxic nadir of unproductive slothful uncleanliness and embarking on a Spartan-esque regime of research, typing, and efficient thoughtfulness before reaching a point of THIS STUPID THING IS 30 PAGES LONG PLEASE JUST TAKE IT I AM SO SICK OF LOOKING AT IT AND THINKING ABOUT IT AND EVEN BEING IN ITS PRESENCE MAKES ME NAUSEATED.

When I lived in my sorority house the procrastination REALLY got bad. I remember participating in a Sunday night movie marathon with the other girls when I had a 15-page paper due for my Asian-American History class the next day. The funny thing was one of the girls in the house was actually in the class, and I remember her coming downstairs to the living room where we were all being couch potatoes and proofreading her paper while she watched Centerstage with us. I was still in my pre-writing/paper-planning phase which usually involved me trying to think of a paper topic that could be adequately researched between the books owned by myself and my roommate and thus would not necessitate me leaving the house to go the library for sources. I marvelled at this wonder. I have never proofread a paper. (Unless spellcheck counts.) Generally I have to muster such concentrated effort to finish the paper in the short amount of time I give myself that I never even want to look at it again.

So...yeah, that's all kind of what I'm up to right now. If anyone is interested in being my life coach I make a GREAT chocolate cake.

4 comments:

toesoxluver said...

I'm just like you! In fact, I'm procrastinating right now by surfing through blogs! :(

gabbiana said...

"A lot of people say they do their best work under pressure; I take it one step further and say I only work under pressure."

Amen, sister. Amen.

(I wrote my college BA thesis in a two-week haze of caffeine and adrenaline. It sucked, but then I didn't want to be a classicist anyway.)

Anonymous said...

Oh Mad Brown Woman only you can understand my situation. I am also working on MPH thesis. It seems like I will never finish it. How do I procrastinate - by looking at differnt phd programs ( it also fails to motivate me).

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