Dynamics

I went to CRC (Georgia Tech’s gym), drank iced milk tea, ate crispy chicken nuggets, and did grocery shopping this morning. This was all because I submitted a conference paper last night. I guess I need to celebrate, so I offer myself some treats.

I don’t have many experiences with writing conference papers. Previously, I had turned in two papers with myself being the first author and co-authored another paper. Yet writing a conference paper always teaches me new lessons. The lessons that I’m going to share might be cliché — smart people may learn this quickly, but I need to wait until I’m writing another conference paper. A bit dumb.

The thing I learned is that different papers have different dynamics. I know, this seems obvious — this seems obvious only when we are reading papers. It may not be the case when we are the ones who are writing. Why? I didn’t really feel this when I was writing my first two papers. I thought it was me who was writing, and since I was the author and I did not change, so I supposed the papers should look pretty similar in terms of style? Well, this is not true. The paper that I was writing recent days had an entirely distinct dynamics in a sense that it kept leading me, instead of being led by me. It refused being structured. The findings of this study were complicated. There were so many details and I didn’t know which ones I should pick. In fact, I couldn’t even find a proper way to tell a story for a couple of days. Findings were already messy, hence the Discussion section was even more difficult to write. I remember I had a hard time on the day I planned to write the Discussion section. Sitting in front of computer screen and hearing my heart bouncing anxiously, I told myself that no matter what I had to at least outline the section before I went to sleep. I jotted down whatever I thought of that might be useful in the section, and to my surprise, these random lines seemed to represent some commonalities that I could talk about. The paper had something it wanted to say. I was only its medium.

I want to record my feelings and thoughts because they are important to me as forms of reflection. This is also to remind myself that I learned a lot by going through the process regardless of the outcome.