Post essay blues

I’m in a funk. And not a fun funky chicken kind of funk, but an I want to curl into a ball, and suck chocolate and cheesecake through a straw kind of funk.

I almost didn’t blog about this, I like to be upbeat, and I usually am, but I decided to write something about feeling shit, because I know it will pass and I also know it will happen again.

All the writers I know suffer from self-doubt, and many academics do too. Is my work good enough, am I clever enough, am I being too clever, am I original? Frankly, if you don’t suffer from a little self doubt I think you’re an arse. But too much self-doubt is tedious. I am not completely sure what has led to this funky few days, but it probably has to do with the essay I handed in last week.

Post essay blues are not new for me. I am usually ecstatic as soon as I hand in a piece of work, relieved that it is done and feeling a bit freer, and that lasts until I go to bed, and inevitably I start to think about all the things that I left out. This is a different feeling to finishing a creative writing piece. Maybe because a creative piece is never really finished, only abandoned. So, I have been grading this essay in my head since last week. On Friday it was a solid 80%, today I am hoping to get 50%. And to add to this fun form of self-torture, I have another essay due next week.

The writing process is not going smoothly for me. It is slow and painful. Writing this tiny 2500 word essay made me realise how much more work I have to do, and three years is starting to feel like a really short period of time. I am starting to panic, and I am only 3½ months in.

So sad this is not, as Yoda might say. Worse things in the world there are, to be sure. That was like an Irish Yoda, to be sure.

So what is the point of telling you this? Well, I guess there are other students out there who also feel a little messy at times; who are starting to wonder if they are going to be able to do it. My supervisor said I just need to be stubborn, and I think I have that covered. Academic study can seem, to those outside of it, to be a pleasant way to spend your time, and, lets face it, it is one of the loveliest work environments in the world. No one feels sorry for academics (and really, that is a form of discrimination). But to be honest I find it difficult to feel sorry for myself too.

See, I feel better already!

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3 Responses to Post essay blues

  1. I can totally identify with this. Self-doubt is a plague! But I also find that a little bit of it is healthy as it keeps me on my toes and constantly questioning my work and aiming for improvement.

  2. Just found this article on Thesis Whisperer – http://thesiswhisperer.com/2010/11/23/phd-paralysis/ Somewhat more poignant and complex than my little problem, and it may help others. She also turned to Yoda, spooky! But then again, Yoda does have all the answers to life’s big questions.

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