• College Ready Writing

    A blog about education, higher ed, teaching, and trying to re-imagine how we provide education.


Finishing What I Start

When trying to do all the things leads to having trouble finishing anything.

July 25, 2013

I like having a lot of proverbial balls in the air. With a lot of plates spinning, I can’t get bored or complacent, and when I get distracted, it’s usually by something else I should be doing, so I stay relatively productive. But I do have a lot of trouble finishing what I start, especially as things fall further down the list of importance.

Hard deadlines are helpful; I worked on my DH presentation because I had to present, and I had a number of other people relying on me to get it done and do a good job representing them. Once the semester starts, my life becomes dictated by the deadlines imposed by the semester, some by choice, other by design. But my summers are often large periods of relatively unstructured time, and no matter how many times I tell myself that this summer will be different, I still think I will be able to complete all the things.

And so, with only a few weeks left in the summer (I start back in mid-August!) I am left with a list of things that I started that I didn’t quite finish. My participation in the Postcolonial Digital Humanities Summer School has tapered off (but I did get my contribution in!). I don’t know if I feel better or worse that I am clearly not the only one whose participation has decreased as time has gone on (and this is also why I have yet to do a MOOC).

I’m also still slogging through editing my dissertation into a book. It’s almost there (at least, enough to resubmit to a publisher) but time is passing by entirely too quickly. I think this might prove to be my biggest challenge to get done, as revising and editing are both my least favorite thing and something that I have always struggled with. Unlike many academics, I’ve never actually suffered from perfectionism in my writing (hence, I think, the blogging) but it also means that I’m entirely enamored with the idea of sending off my writing in the state of adequate-to-good-enough. Right now, my inner-voice is whining: “It’s good enough! It’s fine! Let’s move on, already!”

Heck, I just took a 20-minute break from writing this blog post, unsure on how to finish it.

But I am pretty happy with what I’ve accomplished this summer, all things considered. My piece on DH2013 was featured on DHNow, the book I edited on Dany Laferrière has gone to press, and over 100 people attended my webinar on blogging. I might now be doing all the things, or even a large number of things really, really well, but I seem to be doing at least a few things ok. And that’s something I can be pretty proud of.



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