Friday, October 17, 2008

Needed: Motivation

I've come to realize that my problem with dissertating is not loneliness per se, but a deep need to talk to someone about my progress. But not just anyone. Someone who can empathize, deeply.

For instance, today, it took all of my energy to force myself to do 4.5 hours of writing. I did it, but it was a painful process. I applied all the clinical behavioral skills I knew on myself to make it happen, including a bit of eye-movement reprocessing first thing in the morning to shave some anxiety off my body (it's never a good thing to wake up to an aching jaw--you know you've been grinding your teeth all night).

Now it's 9:48pm. I have a 200+ page dissertation sitting next to me that has to go back to the library tomorrow (it's an inter-library loan and I've used up my renewals). Do I want to force myself to work for another 2 hours to quickly read and summarize this work?

Boring, isn't it, to read about my dissertating woes? But if I don't talk about it, how else do I alleviate this pain of working when it is so torturous to work?

I suppose I could get a punching bag and beat the crap out of it. That would provide some relief. But the ultimate relief is found only in work done. So I should do that.

I will work until 11:30pm. Then I will come back and add a postscript. If you read a p.s. at the end of this post, will you leave a comment of "yay" for me?

Yours humbly,
Lonely Dissertator


11:17pm. p.s. The dissertation was an interesting ethnographic study that was only tangentially related to my dissertation. My practicality said, "get rid of it and do something else;" my curiosity said, "but it's so interesting and knowledge of this work might come in handy one day." Tonight, practicality won.


Anonymous said...

i remember the painful process when i was doing data entry and analysis of my work. it was manually identifying noun phrases of five chapters of text. i had over 5,000 entries and i had to analyse them one by one for their functions. the checking and re-checking nearly killed me, not to mention the tedium of doing it for one and a half months, nit-picking over details, etc. and that's before the literature review. my analysis was over 50pages of tiny print -- font size 8. keep chugging!

Adelynne said...

This scares me, frankly. It makes me not want to even start my Masters degree, much less my PhD. But uncle, you're halfway there. DON'T GIVE UP! Press on. You can finish it. Have faith in God because we can fail ourselves.


Irreligious Philosopher said...


O dear I don't know whether a diploma student like me can say i understand how you feel (still at kecil meow level). I know you level of stress is way UP HIGH-ER than my little dip. kind of scarely too after understand and reading the struggle of others who are pursuing in higher education. I better think 2x, 3x, 4x more whether i should go further after my dip.

But than u know d truth is a learner like us will us stop?

I see that at the end you still enjoyed yourself though the pain is so severe.

Go! my brother "You Are Not Alone".

U r reaching the finishing line VERY soon. :)

Scholar Wannabe said...

LD, I totally empathize!

I've often found that the time I spend procrastinating (read: the avoidance of actually working) is easily double or triple the amount of time that I finally spend on completing a given task.

Keep on chugging along -- you can absolutely do this!!!

Lonely Dissertator said...

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. Round two begins in a few minutes. Can I tackle 4-5 hours of writing today?

Anonymous said...

yay! proud of you!! ~ sherri