Wednesday, 27 September 2006

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Dissertation Fears: Please, Continue Dissertation Fear #1: What you're writing is stupid. Dissertation Fear #2: What you're writing is stupid and someone else said it first. Dissertation Fear #3: What you're writing is stupid, someone else said it first and the both of you are wrong. Dissertation Fear #4: What you're writing is stupid, someone else said it first, the both of you are wrong and they're all laughing at you. Dissertation Fear #5: What you're writing is stupid, someone else said it first, the both of you are wrong and they'd all be laughing at you if they deigned to read your writing, or it ever crossed their radar, in the first place. Dissertation Fear #6: Everyone else already knows what you're writing about. Dissertation Fear #7: Everyone else thinks that what you're writing about is so obvious that they cannot even fathom how it possibly took you years to understand it. Dissertation fear #8: If you re-read your own work, you will discover you haven't been writing in complete sentences. Dissertation Fear #9: You know you're never going to make your deadline anyway, so why bother. Disseration Fear #10: Oh Jesus, you've even got writer's block trying to write about dissertation fears. Dissertation Fear #11: Your dissertation serves no useful social purpose. Dissertation Fear #12: When you look back at your dissertation later in life, you'll wonder why you spent the time of your (relative) youth doing that. Dissertation Fear #13: Since you've not really going to work in your field anyway, your dissertation will be the last thing you publish in that field. Which, face it, is pathetic. Dissertation Fear #14: Since you're not really going to work in your field anyway, your entire degree (as opposed to whatever you learned) is really of no more value than some business major's resume-stuffing MBA. However, yours is actually of less value, since a Ph.D. will *prevent* you from doing certain jobs. Dissertation Fear #15: This is not the end, but only the beginning. [context] Dissertation Fear #15.1: What you're writing is stupid; someone else said it first; and if you keep reading, you'll find out who. But if you keep reading, you'll never write. But if you write and someone's said it and you didn't know, you're an idiot. Because someone knows who said it, and if they haven't told you, it's because you've asked the question the wrong way. So you read. But you can't concentrate because you should be writing. Or submitting a proposal. Or finishing that cover letter so you can resubmit that paper. No, wait: if you just read this one last book, then you'll at least know that this author didn't say it. So you read. No, fuck it. You may as well write because then you can always revise out the idiotic part that someone (who?) already said. Unless someone already said it the same way you were gonna say it, in which case your whole project's worthless. Ergo, why write? So you read blogs. And...

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