As the end of the semester creeps closer and closer, I am feeling very anxious and overwhelmed. I have adored this minor and will miss the work that it entails. However, this semester has been challenging. As I am trying to schedule strict times for myself to sit down and write, I find myself preoccupied with job interviews and other assignments. These next few weeks will be crunch time. I remember that my Gateway project was daunting in the same regard. I just need to focus my time and energy – this project matters to me. Anyone else struggling with discipline? Is this senioritis? Writer’s block? Both?
I had this problem last year during my first semester: I was preparing to study abroad and I found it hard to discipline myself and write. In my PHIL 224 class on global justice, the GSI was so strict on grading that it made writing papers a nightmare. You could no longer write a paper the day before it was due or even two days before. He made us prepare for papers a week in advance, making us write progress reports every night leading up to the paper’s due date. It was tedious but it worked. I would take 30 minutes to an hour every night before bed looking at the book we read or sketching a paper outline. I need to practice this old habit again. It definitely motivated me to just write something. I can hear Shelley’s voice in my head saying “Just write. Just do it.” And though that is some of the best advice I’ve ever received, I still struggle with the anticipation of writing. I feel paralyzed by the rut that I am in. The sketch drafts definitely helped me put pen to paper and organize my ideas. I am grateful for that. I think my stress is coming from the idea that there are only 5 weeks left to make this project come to life. I want to be proud of my work. Twyla Tharpe’s chapter on “Ruts and Grooves” reminded me that there are ways to get out of creative ruts – a bad idea doesn’t doom the entire project.
I think implementing a “progress report” structure to my writing schedule might help with feeling unprepared. What do you do to combat feeling overwhelmed and anxious?