Dead Week

In college, we called the week right before finals “dead week.” During this week there were no parties, no activities, no outside BBQ’s… Just a bunch of students huddled up in Cooper Hall or in the library, or in the practice rooms, or in the labs and studios, trying to cram a semester’s worth of information into their brains, praying that it stuck there long enough to pass the exam. (Really, did anyone ever study any other way? I mean, outside of those weirdos who actually wanted to learn what they were learning. And post-graduate students.)

True, I haven’t been in college since 2002. Yet the rituals of dead week — lack of shaving, burying myself inside my headphones, staying up and working until the whites of my eyes have gone pink — are apparently still there for me to turn to during times of great pressure. At work, we’re getting towards the end of a software release. At home, I’ve been feeling the pressure to finish up my novel. My family’s been requiring more time from me for technical reasons. And of course my blog needs updating.

Notice something about that list? Blogging’s at the bottom of the list. That’s because by the time I’m done with the first three items, I feel like I’m out of words. The funny part is that I have a few posts here with wonderful ideas in them, I just can’t seem to find the drive to finish them. There’s the one about Bookwise in Boca Raton; one about buying hurricane supplies in preparation of Hurricane Dean, or “H. Dean (D-estruction), as I so mockingly named it (you politicos should get that one); one about Dell’s adoption of Linux and the development cycles of Ubuntu; one about how sci-fi killed sci-fi; one about parallel cashless economies, a story challenge titled “Instant Cowboy: Just Add Water”, for which I’ve yet to develop a good plot (I have a notion which I’ll eventually turn into a concept which I might just turn into an idea), etc. I keep viewing and reviewing them, making notes of things to add, deleting superfluous passages… and yet there they sit, in the queue, waiting to see the light of day. All 27 of them

Am I being too picky? Probably. But then, I guess putting a self-imposed limit on the number of words in my articles (I don’t like to make them under 500 or over 4,000) and my increasingly stringent eye towards substantive quality (if not editorial) has been a two edged sword. On the one hand, I’m much happier with the quality of posts I put out. On the other, I’m increasingly dissatisfied with the amount of posting I’ve been doing. Here, at least. If you go to 9Rules Notes you’ll see I put up a lot of stuff there, mostly because I tend not to get as many comments here as I do there. (That, I suppose, is simply a function of the sites’ differing readership numbers.) Of course, that content is of generally lower quality, probably because I’m more comfortable posting a one paragraph note there than I am in doing the same here. (Honestly, can you remember the last time I put up a one paragraph note?)

But back to the main point: I haven’t been posting a lot because I’ve been busy with work, family, and “outside commitments” (a term encompassing everything about my writing life not related to my job or this blog, like other blogs I write on but don’t tell you about). Sorry about that. I’ll start posting more again soon, I promise. I’ll even start posting some of the short stories I’ve been writing, about the instant cowboys and killer hurricanes, and some of the writing analysis I’ve been working on. For now, it’s just this, which I promise I won’t save to post later (because I’ll then likely just forget it). As for the rest… I blame dead week.

6 thoughts on “Dead Week

  1. @Quantum: Really?! I thought if you got to the PG level you actually liked what you’re doing, instead of feeling that if you didn’t do that you were doomed to being a minimum wage lackey, like most college students feel.

    @hthth: That’s one that’ll be both easy and hard for me. Easy in that there’s SOOOOO much material I can cover. Hard in that theres’ SOOOOO much material I can cover. (Don’t you hate those?)

  2. Man, I can’t remember when I last visited Notes, let alone interact in some valuable manner. Next I know they’ll kick me out 😉

    As for blogging, I think I may have come up with a little trick to boost my output. Get up early and write your draft, when you’re still full of the ideas you mulled over during the night, in dreams. Then go back to it at night and edit, rewrite, publish.

    Of course, this works especially well for me because of the time difference: when I finally drop dead at night, the US is still in full swing (which is where I still get most of my readership from).

  3. Gnorb: Usually, PG students like what they do. Sometimes, little parts of it are drudgery to even the best PG students. Stuff like repetitive experimentation can become mind numbing if its not done right.

    (Sorry for the delay, I just moved.)

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