The Process of Papers

I’m sitting here writing a paper.  Well, kind of.  If I were actually writing my paper, I would be typing on my Word document instead of typing into this blog post.  Hence, procrastination.  It’s not because I don’t know what to say.  It’s not because I’m bored of my paper.  For once in with this paper, I actually know where I want to go and what I want to say.  And yet, for some bizarre reason, I still wind up repeatedly checking my e-mail and logging onto Facebook and at some points meandering through the Internet world to my blog.  Why?

I’m not really sure.  It doesn’t really seem to slow me down to take three-minute breaks and buzz down the Facebook news feed, then close the window again.  On a typical paper (not this one, this one takes longer) I can average about a page in half an hour, once I’ve done all my research.  That means about 4 hours for an 8 pager, although revising and editing will follow.  I’m usually pretty happy with that efficiency rating.

But that I wonder, if I hadn’t actually taken the time to go and answer that email, or to go and browse through Facebook, would I have actually gotten the paper done any faster?  Am I just addicted to the Internet?

And I think the answer to that question would have to be “no.”  I think back to my time in Italia when I didn’t have Internet 24/7, so couldn’t hop onto Facebook whenever I was bored with my paper.  Did I write papers any faster there?  I don’t think so.  In Italy, I would allow myself to get distracted by the pretty olive trees outside the window, or the nuns picking artichokes in the garden below, or browsing through old pictures on my computer.

I think my process of paper-writing is more a product of the ADD world we live in, where we’re constantly multi-tasking.  We have minimal attention spans.  Which is why every 10 minutes I go and look at something else.  Which is why right now I’m reminded that I need to go back and finish up that paragraph about one author’s assessment of triangular diplomacy between Nixon and China.

Ciao for now.


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