Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Reading That Which I Wrote

In preparation for my afternoon meeting with DC, I'm re-reading the paper I turned into her two weeks ago. This is not for the faint of heart. I can see how I wrote this in pieces, and not quite all of the pieces fit together just yet. Oh well, it was designed to be a good working draft of something larger to get published. But does that justify the incomplete sentence at the end of the second paragraph?


I guess when I make myself stay up all night to finish the paper, my early-morning proofing job doesn't go so well.

I'm actually finding it physically difficult to make myself re-read this paper. The blood pressure rose just a bit. Did I really turn this in to DC?? OK, wait, here's a good section on page 5. Well, the theoretical framework is looking OK for now. But what about the data analysis section? Not sure I can get through that again.

It's like I'm reading this paper as if I've not written it myself, and yet somehow I know every word. It's a very strange experience for me: coming back to a paper I finished up a couple of weeks ago, and willingly subjecting myself to the meeting in about two hours where I'm going to be brought through the academic sieve like clumpy flour about to go into cake. Usually, I turn in papers, read feedback on them, occasionally make some changes here & there if needed and move on. This is the beginning of the constant review process, the constant world of criticism that one NEEDS in order to grow. But am I ready to have my work pulverized into dough only to be baked up into another souffle that will deflate if Moose stomps too hard on the kitchen floor? Can I deal with my blood pressure rising each time I re-read something I wrote?

Well, it's not like I've never been subjected to criticism of my own work before. I have a degree in music: people commented, criticized, and complained about noise I'd make on the piano for years. I guess the difference is that with a live performance, the music doesn't necessarily hang in the air in quite the same way that the written word sticks around forever. A music recording could miss a nuance here or there. The printed word, however, is crystal clear (unless using a mimeograph machine from the 70s, but let's not go off on a tangent here) (oh, guess I just did) (oh well).

Sigh. Back to reading, then. Yep, here's a paragraph I may cut on page 6. Well, hopefully DC will appreciate the fact that I'm coming back to her with some of my own edits. We shall see. I'll keep you posted to let you know what type of dough I turn into after today's meeting. Hoo boy.


Rob said...

I'm the first to comment in my own post. Tacky perhaps, but hey, it's my blog! :-)

I got through the re-edit process, and I'm definitely in a better place now, mentally. I have lots more to do with this if I want it published, but I think I know what I need to do. And now, I won't look like a total idiot when I meet with DC in a few minutes because I can identify the bad parts of the paper myself. I'm now actually looking forward to our meeting: I could really use the feedback.

lemming said...

Wait, you mean that sometimes advisors (may they live forever) say nice things?



Rob said...

LOL. The meeting went much better than expected. Guess I'm indeed my own worst critic.