So I’ve got a song in my head mixing the word procrastination with the 1971 Carly Simon song “Anticipation,” but rather than love affairs, I’ve got images of Heinz Ketchup commercials (“The taste that’s worth the wait,” 1979). (Must be the red ink I’m expecting splattered all over my homework.)
The song version in my head:
is makin’ me wait…”
I have been researching on my computer in preparation for my first annotation for my master’s in education research class–and finding myself constantly distracted by so many other things. (Not the least of which is my 15-year-old son who seems to need prompting for all things academic and chore-related. If only a teacher would assign a YouTube video or a computer game…) To research on the computer means I have many tabs open–including Facebook, this blog, my email, and the blog my students are supposed to be answering. I search and think I find, try again and think I find, try again, give up, and then glance at each open window–before beginning afresh.
The funny thing is that I’m currently teaching my high school juniors that very evil–research–and even gave them a lecture yesterday on finding credible sources online. Yet here I am struggling to find even one peer-reviewed source of a questionable comparative study.
I think I’m suffering from researcher’s block.
I read a story one time about Winston Churchill, who was staring at a white canvas because he felt too overwhelmed to paint. After an hour had passed, his wife approached and asked “What do you think you are doing?” He growled his response: “I’m painting. Can’t you see?”
She grabbed his paintbrush, swirled a brush through several colors to make a sloppy, drippy brown, and made several ugly brush strokes across the canvas. Initially angry, Churchill saw she actually had done him a favor by destroying “the power of the white.” Knowing he could make the canvas look no worse, he was free to try to improve it (Melton, 1985, pp. 43-44).
That said, to overcome writer’s block, I have often had to “”break the power of the white” by putting some mark, any mark on a fresh, clean piece of paper. This looks different on the computer, but I know for writing, sometimes, I just have to get started writing something–even if I end up deleting it all.
But research? How do I break the power of the World Wide Web?
(Trust me, I’ve tried Mounds bars, Rotel cheese and tortilla chips. I’m desperate enough to try running. So far, the WWW is winning.)
Churchill said, “Success always demands a greater effort” and “It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.”
So I will go sweat off those dietary crutches that failed me–and try again to do more than my best and all that is required.
I just hope what I produce will be worth the wait!
Melton, D. (1985). Written & illustrated by–: a revolutionary two-brain approach for teaching students how to write and illustrate amazing books. Kansas City, Mo.: Landmark Editions.
Motivational Winston Churchill Quotes – Quotes about Life and People. (n.d.). Winston Churchill Quotes – Famous Quotes and Sayings. Retrieved January 26, 2012, from http://quoteswinstonchurchill.com/motivational-quotes