The Longue Durée of my Procrastination


I have a monster of a book project that is sitting on the bottom shelf on my closet in my office. Sometimes when I open that closet to retrieve papers, it hisses at me and lashes at my ankles. In a panic flight mode, I hurriedly close the door on it, making a promise that I will get to it after x and x is done.

Yesterday, the monster-keeper (aka the book editor– and I don’t mean this in a bad way) sent a very angry email asking me to explain my extremely long-drawn out delays in a report that will be forwarded to be re-examined. For a moment, I froze. Does this mean I may not get to publish? And to that, he added, “You had so enthusiastically taken up…”. Indeed… whatever happened to me? I had let the editor down …

A signed book contract is something I think most rookie graduate students (me, a couple of years ago and most probably still, now) would clamour for but I think I under-estimated the amount of work involved given that over the years, I had completed my MA dissertation, my daughter was born, my mother fell really ill, not to mention my full-time work on top of everything else. When I thought that I should write the book, I was guilt-tripped into looking at my dissertation instead. Now that I have finished my MA dissertation and am just waiting to start the Phd programme, I need to tame this monster. But I glance in the direction of the closet where it lays and let out a sigh.

Where had my enthusiasm gone?

I’m not sure why this is happening to me but after I have spent much time elbows deep in a research topic, I tend to get so sick of it. And then I get distracted by another conference/ paper/ submission that I can’t wait to get started on that. I need to stop and take a breather (no, not procrastinate, and this is why so urgently I need to embark on the Breathe Project that I had written about previously). I need to take on what I can handle and be really realistic about it. Thankfully the research was based on my honours year thesis and I only have to update it with other material but it has been years since I looked at it so I need to re-acquaint and fall back in love.

If you have been in a similar situation and have fallen out of love with your research you once so passionately loved, please let me know! I’m trying to get my head around this.



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