Obviously, I don’t hate all writing, or else I wouldn’t have a blog. It’s also not true when it comes to documentation because code documentation is one of the things that I try to do habitually and that I harped on all the time while I was an engineer. For some reason, though, I can’t motivate myself to write my research down, even though I view it as essential and essentially the same as code documentation. I need to pull my own teeth to start writing.
Even now, I’m experiencing an incredible stubbornness to just doing it. I have a deadline (not for a conference) to get something written down soon, which will serve to get some material written, but I would much rather be personally motivated to do it. If I want to do it, I’ll do it better. So I’m writing this out as an exercise to help me figure out why I’m being such an ass about it, to glean some advice from my readers, and maybe to help anyone else who is having trouble with a similar motivation.
When put on the spot, I could probably invent a couple inane excuses as to why I don’t want to write. They wouldn’t be accurate, however, because I really don’t know why. So here’s a few possibilities:
- Procrastination: This is incredibly likely, but it’s outweighed by the fact that I still don’t want to write under my imminent deadline.
- Pride: Also another possibility. I’m not denying it, since pride often accompanies (if not causes) stubbornness. But what would it be pride over? That I shouldn’t have to write? I’ve been aware since I chose this career change that writing will be an integral part of my work. Whither the pride, then?
- Perfectionism: A strong candidate, but writing is an iterative process, and perfectionism undoes writing by dragging it out, not preventing it from starting.
- Fear: Hmm. I think I might be getting somewhere. I don’t know where exactly it would stem from, but since I typed the word, it’s lingering there.
I’ll pause there for now, and I’ll go over some of the suggestions that people have already given me for motivation (all good):
- It’s necessary anyway: I’ll have to write anyway, and I’ll have to revise a bunch of times, so there’s no point in putting it off.
- It will help reveal flaws: I both agree and disagree with this. Mostly I agree, but it’s a good enough reason to just write it down.
- It will help in communicating the research verbally: I really like this idea, and I’m eager to try it out. Now if I could just get over the hump…
- Write every day: John suggested this in the comments to help overcome the inertia. The procrastinator in me dislikes this idea, but I think it’s important enough to try.
I want to work this out now, as early as possible, so that I’m not wasting so much time trying to motivate myself to write. The fear thing seems weird to me. Am I just having a fear of rejection or judgment? I thought I made this change ready to face both.
So, readers, any suggestions on motivations? How did (do) you get over the hump? Do you think it’s just some stupid fear of rejection/judgment? Or is it something else?