The primary aspect of my work is WRITING and yet it is the last thing that I want to do for work. There are emails to be checked, people to call, the internet just screams to be looked at. Facebook and realestate.com have so many shiny things for me to view and there are endless productivity blogs to help me while away hours and hours of time. And yet, I say that I love my job. I get to work with kids to trial a new intervention technique to see if it improves their ability to do the things they want and need to do. I get to test a scientific theory. But for what purpose? To publish the damn thing. To write about it, communicate it and get other people doing it if it works, or stop them from wasting their time if it doesn’t.
Writing. It is the center most important focus of the area that I have chosen and yet I procrastinate expertly to avoid doing it. The irony is that I love to write. I write a blog and I so love doing it. Maybe because I can type out a finished piece in a few hours and it’s done. Out there for others to read and already published to boot. It’s not going to change any lives the way my scientific work potentially could, but it is something I have done. Something I have completed and shared, it is progress. An achievement.
The science work writing that I do is a terribly tedious past time. I have to fact check and cross-reference every thought. It is the work supporting a statement that gets in my way. I write, I think I am finished… then I have to check through all the comments that I made to myself about the detail work that remains. The writing, even the editing was enjoyable. The details of referencing, checking for more supporting or contradicting literature, tying everything together is where I come undone. Then it takes me forever, I procrastinate for months over the smallest details and I run out of puff.
It is these important mechanics that are part of the polishing. If I can just find my way clear to pushing through with these small pieces of my story, of my message, then I will be done and I can submit for publication. Then I start to progress the part of my work where the big stuff happens. The kudos is in the publishing. It’s in the opportunities that come with many publications. The focus in research is on team members who are proven writers. These are the folk who are going to take important work and share it with the audience of clinicians, doctors, informed service recipients and share it with the people who will benefit most from it. This can only happen when it is accessible. This can only happen when it is not only written up, but published- online or in a paper journal, but searchable.
I need to bring my focus back to this point: writing is the core of my work. The focus is on scientific exploration of a theory, but the recruiting, the assessing, the hours and hours and hours of time families contribute and that I have committed mean nothing if it is not communicated. The growing story around my research area is strengthened by every piece of work that I could conceivably contribute. My voice and knowledge will add to the work begun by only a few so far and will add to the small but growing momentum there. It is emerging PUBLISHED evidence that will cause the entire world to sit up and pay attention, to think about tackling problems with a new perspective in mind. Then all the time and effort invested by families, the research team and myself will be worthwhile.
So I have to remind myself- keep up with recruitment, really start scoring those measures… but do not lose sight of the fact that you have a responsibility to yourself and the people who have also invested large amounts of time in this work, to write. You have to share what you are learning. You have to generate interest and enthusiasm for the knowledge coming out of this project. It is the sharing that validates. It is the sharing that brings future opportunities and fortifies your position as a serious candidate in future works. Your practical skill set alone is not enough in the world of research. To make the biggest impact, you have to be what you have always wanted to be- a writer, first and foremost.
“I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork.” ~Peter De Vries