Nothing fucking worse than dissertation writer’s block.
It’s a special layer of pain and degradation in Dante’s literary Hell (he cut this one out of his final draft). It sits there and mocks you in a voice like that drunk chick on _Will and Grace_: “What’s a matter? Can’t remember that quote you want to put there to start off this section? Oh honey, you’re about as useful as a washer without a spin cycle.”
Pattern of writing so far:
1) Grab a bunch of random, but related primary sources culled from research year abroad, skim through them, and just write about them til something makes sense. Blast through a shitload of pages, making sure to write ‘peppy’ topic sentences for Advisor.
2) Grind to halt as you reach section a bit more esoteric, a bit less reliant on primary research, a bit more meta. Bang on laptop until fingers raw and The Boy is cowering in the corner from the froth at the corners of dada’s mouth. Lather, rinse, repeat, until the fucking section is done.
3) Grab more random, but related documents for a different chapter, fly through ten pages of a targeted 25 page chapter, pat self on back for mad skillz and progress.
4) Repeat step two. Glance nervously at spouse looming nearby to just “see how you’re doing”. Imagine tossing a book at her on the way out. Return to Hell.
5) Realize that you still need those damn pages from Hansards to finish this fucking chapter from Hell, but still haven’t driven down to MSU to get them because CMU’s library decided Hansards was a pointless series to continue receiving right around 1901!!! Blessedly note that gas is slightly cheaper, which is good because the extra money will go to copying.
6) In a moment of desperation, reread what you have totally. Realize it’s pretty good, all things considered. Go watch a rerun of ‘Celebrity Poker Showdown’ on Bravo. Realize you don’t know any of these celebrities except Apu from the ‘Simpsons’.
7) Return to the hanging quote in the section of chapter two that is still stumping you. Say fuck it, and go to bed.
This is not one night so much as a conglomeration of experiences in the recent past. This reminds me of thesis summer. At least my back isn’t broken like it was then. Imagine trying to write when you couldn’t sit down.