All-Nighters Round 2

God Fucking Dammit.

I had over a month, over a month to write this fucking MA chapter and yet somehow I now only have 4 days. 4 fucking days. And about 2 days ago, I had 10 days. What the fuck is going on.

Well, it’s not all bad in the sense that broadly speaking I know what my argument is, I’m sure I can pick out a few choice scenes here and there to meet my needs, and the actual chapter-writing itself probably won’t take a very long time. But still. I actually did get a headstart on this chapter, the way I keep trying to get myself to do, and yet here we are again, again.

Again.

HOW THE FUCK DOES so I know that a big part of this issue was the fact that I have selected the film adaptation of Ender’s Game to write about for this chapter, and I dreaded watching that movie so much that I put it off for about 2 weeks too long. Moral of the story being to either pick texts that I’m not going to avoid like the plague to write about, or find some way to force myself to engage with them in a timely manner so that I don’t end up in bullshit situations like this.

hate this. I wanted a nice, comfortable flow from one chapter to the next, no all-nighters ever again, sensible time-management, getting an early start on the next piece of work …

I mean I guess I still did that. And I can feel myself learning, physically feel it, like a change in the weather that you only feel through the texture of your skin and the balance of your hormones rather than in the atmosphere around you. I can feel myself caught up in the Flow, as psychologists and game theorists both call it. It is happening. It is working. It’s just not quite there yet.

Thus, for the next four nights, including tonight: all-nighter city. I assume I’ll be going straight on to revisions for this chapter after I hand it in, I fucking hope I’m going straight into revisions because I’ll almost certainly need them, and just … fuck this fucking thesis. Fuck it. I have been getting all excited at the prospect of doing a PhD but if it’s just going to be 4 more years of this shit?

And the thing is, when I’m in the zone, when I’m all engaged and shit, I love this work. I love the intellectual stimulation and all that good stuff; I love wrestling with concepts and ideas and pinning them down in the shape of a solid argument. But I’m not giving myself the opportunity to enjoy it. I keep putting it off. I have to not only grapple with the theories and arguments and possible counter-arguments but also the toxic self-sabotaging habits I’ve built up over half a lifetime of anxiety, guilt and self-loathing. It’s kind of amazing I’ve got this far, in a way. I want more time with this chapter. 4 days can’t do it justice. There are so many cool things I want to think about the information I have to play with, and there just isn’t time, and goddammit there could have been enough time. That’s the most infuriating part. That’s always the most infuriating part.

But the one very, very good thing about this whole experience is the back-to-back deadlines, for an entire year. Like, yeah, right now it sucks ass to be stuck in a corner of my own making, but overall this is exactly the kind of environment I need to learn the skills I need to learn if I want to write for a living, academically or otherwise. Finished the thing? Great job; on to the next one. Finished that thing? Then you can pick up another one now. On and on and on, and basically at some point the habit will break, the bottom will fall out and I will be forced to get my shit together. As much as this very moment sucks, and sucks hard, overall this is possibly the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life as a writer, and as a student.

I mean this is the fantasy every depressive, anxious, dysfunctional person who is aware of their dysfunctionality dreams of: being forced to change. I gave up on that fantasy ages ago because it kept not happening, but now it is happening. And I don’t have time for the fantasy anymore. It just is.

And this chapter isn’t going to write itself.

 

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