Breaking from Habit

In the past four years, I have found success in a writing routine which I know to be misguided. I’ve been most adept at writing when my back is against the wall, and therefore tend to write close to an impending deadline. This method has served me well (at least in terms of grades) in my time at Michigan, but that has typically been when I receive a specific prompt with a clear list of eligible sources.

The Capstone project is undoubtedly too broad for this approach, and—despite laying out a production plan—I have had to do everything in my power to resist the urge to continue in my ways. Artificial deadlines and ensuring I have had certain tasks completed promptly have definitely led to a change in some of these habits.

However, at the same time, I feel there are some merits to the urgency and clarity that is provided by having my feet to the fire. Consequently, I’ve decided to put off certain goals as I continue to write pieces for my Capstone project. Chief among these is the task of tying together all of my work. My initial impulse was to have a sort of encompassing purpose in mind as I began my research and writing, but—while I do have a grasp for what that purpose will be—it is almost impossible to know specifically what your project will accomplish until you have completed all of your work.

While the Capstone has given me an opportunity to break from some of the more unwise habits I’ve developed as a writer, it has given me an understanding of why it is that I feel compelled to put off certain tasks. With this new understanding, I have become better at not falling behind without feeling like I need to have everything done well ahead of schedule.

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