One step at a time

Been plugging away at this literature review (part of the mysterious other work that I do for money and never ever talk about), and it is miserable. I am terrible at literature reviews, because there’s very little about them that’s creative. Instead it’s all about exhaustive attention to detail. Just about the only part I’m any good at is the part right near the end where you look at the massive amount of information you’ve accumulated and think about how best to organize it into a paper.

However, I have gotten better over time. What I’ve learned to do is, when I’m researching, to write my notes in the form of sentences (including citations) that could eventually appear in the final paper. That way, when I get to the end, I can just assemble everything, collage-style. It’s still miserable, since it takes me hours to accumulate a page or two of notes, but at least when I get to the end, everything just…comes together.

That’s the one and only thing I know about getting stuff done. The hardest part is starting. Once you’ve started, you’ll probably finish. It’s going to miserable. And you might not enjoy the process of finishing. You might not even finish quickly or on time or at all efficiently. But if you start something and plug away at it day after day, you’ll eventually finish.

And I think I will, god willing, finish this paper sometime tomorrow.