I just turned in two papers today – a combined total of about 24 pages of writing, or just over 7000 words for the both of them, not including cover pages, abstracts, and bibliographies. I’m a bit tired. The two of them were effectively written just in the last three days (I don’t procrastinate or anything) between classes and fixing my electricity and me just being a bum and not working on them. My first papers of the semester, which is very odd for me, because back at GW I probably could have compiled a full length book of the papers I would have written by this point in the semester. Yawn.
My friend Kate told me a while back that she tries to write every paper as if she intended on publishing it, even if it’s just a short paper that doesn’t actually require much effort. I decided that that’s a very good idea and generally I try to follow that rule. Generally. Well, considering how late I started today’s two papers and their resultant crappiness (by my standards), I didn’t do very well with that, but I did include an abstract in both of them. Not at all required, not sure what my professors will think of them, but abstracts are a fairly standard feature of published articles, so I figured if I wasn’t going to produce an article itself good enough to be published, I could at least give it the illusion of being publishable with a fancy abstract.
A note on my procrastination: in my defense, it wasn’t JUST that I’m a horrible procrastinator and I tend to leave things to the last minute (which is partly true, more often with papers than anything else)...compared to most of my professors at GW, or at least the ones I like, I feel like my professors here have such low expectations that I don’t actually have to put much effort into anything to impress them (which is true, at least in class discussions, for the most part), and therefore I had very little motivation to put effort into writing a semi-decent paper. I mean, one of the two papers that I just wrote is so crappy – I don’t think I proved my thesis very well, I think I had some very shaky points, and probably some factual errors just because I didn’t leave myself enough time to read all my sources properly – that I was half considering going back through a couple of the sources and doing some quick fixes on the paper, even if it’s already been turned in. I doubt the professor will take issue with it like I am (low expectations coming into play again), but I’m overly critical of myself.
I think I’m burned out on paper writing. This definitely didn’t happen this semester, cause I haven’t really written much this semester at all, but sometime between last semester and this one I somehow got burned out on paper writing. While I was writing my papers I kept thinking things like “I wonder if I can work any song lyrics into this paper somehow” or “Can I come up with any good puns to use for section titles?” or “I wonder how many points I’d lose if I wrote this whole thing in haiku form”. I think I actually tried to come up with some haikus about the EU’s Mediterranean Policy at about 3 AM last night. Wasn’t too successful with that, but yeah, this is an interesting development in my college career. Hopefully the “not wanting to take papers seriously” thing diminishes a bit before next semester. Maybe it’s just cause I’m bored, I’m not being challenged enough. I dunno. I still think it would be fun (in my warped conception of “fun”) to write a paper in haiku form.