I’ve been working hard to get the second chapter of my dissertation finished before the end of the month. I wouldn’t say I’m panicking, exactly, but I’m definitely feeling a heightened sense of urgency. It’s been funny to watch all my carefully designed notetaking and citation plans get shoved out the window now that I really have to write. All these months I’ve been carefully entering sources into Zotero, only to completely ignore them now because I feel like I can’t spare the time to figure out how to use Zotero’s citation tool.
This always happens to me, and I feel like it’s basically okay. Sometimes, when push comes to shove, I just need to write and not worry about Getting Things Done or workflow or whatever. As it is, I’ve been inventing dates and approximating quotes, knowing I’ll go back and fix them later.
There was a New York Times article recently on the science of concentration. Winifred Gallagher, the author of the book Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life, recommends that, when working, “don’t get distracted by anything else, because it can take the brain 20 minutes to do the equivalent of rebooting after an interruption.” For me, this is certainly true, and, while making up quotes is pretty extreme, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about when I say I’ll do whatever it takes to get words on the page.