Monday, 9 May 2011

The Researcher's Curse, and Blessing

This will be a meandering post, as evidenced by the completely unrelated photo (our cats Lev and - I think - Lisha from back in 2004; I've just found it in my computer. Also, I wish the pictures I upload into my posts were not disrupting my paragraph formatting, but fact is they are).

If you have any experience with a kind of academic research, it might have happened to you, too. When looking into something you're really, reeeally interested in. It's happened to me before, on Grammar school, when I was writing seminary work in History. I chose to research into Old West and Once Upon A Time In The West. Kind of a dream come true, being able to write about such thing. The problem is, when you really love your subject, you get distracted. In case of that seminary work, I kept looking into more and more resources and couldn't bring myself to start writing.

What's happened to me now is almost the exact opposite.

I'm attending a course on American literature in 1865-1910. One fact caught my attention, that Stephen Crane was Methodist - or at least his family was - and that it might have found a way into his writing. The article I found about that concerned his city stories (I'm not familiar with them - yet), while I thought there was quite a lot of that in The Red Badge of Courage (which we read for the course), too. So I'm looking into that. We are supposed first to write a paper proposal, and then the research paper/essay proper. We were supposed to upload the paper proposal into the online system by noon today.

Well, as I said, the opposite of my seminary work situation happened... I got carried away and wrote good three pages of an essay before I realised that it was almost 2 PM and I hadn't uploaded the proposal yet...

Really, a researcher's curse. Sometimes it's easier to write about things you're not interested in. When you get interested, it's hard to do what you're supposed to do.

And sometimes, I think, it's the same case with some of my crafting projects... I think I should be glad I'm also suscpetible to occasional spurs of spontaneously heading into things - headfirst. It often results in unfinished objects - sometimes because they cannot be reasonably finished - but were it not for it, some things would never happen.

Speaking of Methodism, I found this book online - Methodism by H. B. Workman, published 1912 - and this quote by John Wesley:

The best of all is God is with us.

Quite right.


  1. I always find it easier to write things that I am not interested in. It is my policy for school papers. :D

  2. Yeah, I'm discovering that, too. I should have made the discovery much earlier, except that... a number of things. One of them is, I keep running into Christianity-related themes in books we're reading, and my reasoning is "if I don't write about this, nobody in this class (or country) will". Rather stupid, but I can't help it. :D

  3. P.S. I've got feedback already, and it's not that bad. I got 94 points, which is actually really good :-), and the teacher commented it was "excellent" and well researched... Phew. Well researched, the bright side of interest. :D

  4. I never could make myself do good work if I wasn't interested.

  5. What usually works for me is something I wasn't interested in initially. I usually become interested in the process and if I don't, it's awfully wrong, too; but when I'm interested right from the beginning, it gets complicated. ;-)
    That's not to say I can't do good work in the end; that's to say it intereferes with the academic process of writing. One way or another, I get carried away.

    But I guess right now I should stop overanalyzing myself. :D