Dissertation Doldrums…. or “some summer!”

4 Aug

Imagine being in a room.  The only door is locked but somewhere in the room there is a key. What do you do?

It’s simple enough really.  Find the key, unlock the door and leave the room.

Now imagine that the room is in complete darkness and you don’t know if there is a key or not, you only suspect that there might be.

This then is currently how I’m feeling about progress or lack thereof on the dissertation.  Hours of groping around blindly in the dark trying to work out whether what I’ve got in my hands is vaguely key shaped or not.  You try and approach these things methodically and with a degree of organisation – for example you divide the room up into sections and trawl up and down on your hands and knees one section at a time, trying to work out whether what you’ve got will fit the magic lock, whether to hold onto what you’ve found or discard it, because you can only carry so much with you on your trek to the exit…

But…  you can’t quite shake the feeling that what you’re holding isn’t actually a key but more of a potato that, because of the lack of sleep and the kaleidoscope of ideas that keep barrelling around in your head, just happens to look vaguely key-shaped but in reality is going to be as much use as a chocolate teapot.

Right now I can’t quite help feeling like I no longer know what the point or purpose of what I’m writing is, I’m fairly sure I’m contradicting myself in about six separate places and I would really, really like it all to stop now please!

There’s an apocryphal tale about James Joyce being upset because he’d only managed to write seven words that day.  His friend, attempting to soothe him, congratulated Joyce saying “But James, that’s very good by your standards!”.  Joyce looked up distraught and replied “But I don’t know which order they go in.”

I know what he means…



One Response to “Dissertation Doldrums…. or “some summer!””

  1. alexcase Monday 3 September 2012 at 07:47 #

    Ouch! I’m just rewriting an article I gave up on two years ago because I no longer believed in the point I was trying to make, but luckily no one knew I was writing it so it didn’t really matter…

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