Whiny Acute Procrastinitis

I am having a very hard time making myself work on what I need to work on. Two papers need to go out — they have been drafted by my students, but they are in a bad shape language-wise and I don’t have the time or the will for back-and-forths, so I need to edit the text directly right away (as opposed to several drafts from now). I have taken and put down each of them several times and made some edits, but I just can’t make myself go all the way to the end for either of them. My stomach turns when I think about how much work each of them will be.

Then there is the infernal proposal to NSF. This proposal was recommended but not highly recommended two years in a row. In fact, two years in a row I have been ‘on the bubble’ and ended up without money. I am really sick of this material, sick of reading it and sick of writing it. And now I have to do it again, more than once (trying two agencies plus some internal funds).

I better get my $hit together, and I eventually will, but I don’t think I have ever felt this much resistance toward engaging with my own papers or proposals. What’s strange is that I can’t say I am tired, as the summer just ended and I didn’t overwork; I am physically in better shape than I’ve been in a long time (exercising 5x a week) so I should have more energy; I’ve already allowed myself weeks of free rein within my creative outlet with the specific purpose of scratching that itch really well so I can work on technical stuff.

And I can’t wait forever for the muse; there are deadlines (the internal one is tomorrow). Cranking out 10,000 characters from scratch is usually a piece of cake for me. Reading what I’d read a million times already, so I can massage it into yet another shape and size is freakin’ nauseating, and I’m not speaking figuratively.

Naughty procrastinating xykademiqz.

(Kids, don’t do as I do.)



  1. Mini-burnout caused by the current unstable and irrational funding and academic work environment?

    Or is that just me?

  2. I am going through one of my periodic bouts of despair at how little I control my career progress and it is sapping the motivation right out of me. I need a new job. I need pubs to get a new job. I have not received any feedback on the manuscript I sent my advisor in June and wish to submit hopefully some time this summer (clearly not) fall (let’s be realistic) year.

    I haven’t received a response to meeting requests either.

    Clearly I need a new job that doesn’t require a good publication record. Meanwhile, I try to keep going on my projects, but it’s hard when I know they’ll probably never see print.

  3. Always helpful to hear that (more productive) others go thru those same type of stretches. Way too much of my summer was like that though I tried to give myself something of a break since i had just found out (positively) about tenure.

    Also, I second/third Astra’s take

  4. How I feel exactly re: my student’s paper that I have to edit (aka rewrite)… even though writing papers is a boatload of work, in a lot of cases it’s easier to write them from scratch myself. Also, re: rewriting what I’ve already written for the umpteenth time.

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