Oh My Gosh: My Essay Was Boring!

The grades from my project proposal came back, and they we’re well, but less than what I had hoped for.

The feedback I received was that the essay was thickly written and difficult reading. I just compared my essay with one of a fellow student and I can see the difference. After a page of my own, I was gazing at the screen howling ‘this is boring!’

Which makes me ask the question: what broke?

I am a perfectionist. I am a deep analytical thinker. That gives me a wealth of conscientiousness and attention to detail, but it creates unnecessary hoops to jump when it comes to writing.

As I recall, my strategy with this essay was to spend the lions share of my time reading research papers – having the goal of one per day. And perhaps missing the forest for the trees, the operation of connecting them with a musical flow was foregone.

I like to believe that we live in a world where everything can be done exactly right. That I can do all my course reading quickly but detailed, and that I can be the expert of all the related literature before I plan my essays. But more and more I am being forced to accept that part of the academic technique is being smart with the time and material I have.

It look’s like it really is no good compelling oneself to read deeply through papers in an order of topics. Is the better way then to brainstorm out the ideas that bounce around easily? With a simple end in mind and find papers to fit?

It’s always an academic challenge matching the existing available research base with your hypothesis, and it looks like a purely bottom up ideal isn’t the solution either.

Achim’s razor, commonly called the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) clearly applies here.