Wednesday, July 25, 2007

When Work Itself Becomes Procrastination

As I may have mentioned in earlier posts, my current writing project is getting a revise-and-resubmit put away before I need to pack up and move across the country for a fellowship year. This has involved reading books and articles written my people working in fields adjacent to my own, so I can make work on medieval history relevant to the non-medievalists who read this journal. So, off and on for the past month, I've been going through stacks of books and articles in fields not my own, in order to write perhaps two paragraphs for the introduction.

So, it is with pleasure that I report that I have at long last become more efficient: today, I collected six books from the library, immediately rejected two as irrelevant, and in a little over two hours, gutted the other four to extract the bits I needed. I also found three blessedly short articles that will help, printed them out, and am determined to be just as ruthless with them.

Of course, it occurs to me that, by working on these revisions, I may subconsciously be putting off working on the much more complicated and intimidating book manuscript. In honor of this bit of self-analysis, I am inaugurating a new "procrastination" subject label. I'm hoping I won't have too much occasion to use it over the next year, but I fear I might.

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