Thursday, 20 December 2012

Hitting the wall

Manuscript A: Alright. I have a problem. My goal was to finish my pterosaur manuscript a long time ago, and for sure finish it by the end of this month. Of course, that did not happen, and isn't going to. Part of the reason is that I discovered I did some very silly things originally that I need to correct and address in order to get it to publication quality. The problem is, this involves re-doing several of my analyses. Do you know how much time it takes to re-analyse all the CT scans I've done so far? And it's not exactly the most stimulating, it's sitting with ImageJ all day. So needless to say, I have hit the wall with this paper right now. I suspect that when I get back to the UK I'll be more productive again. But we'll see.

Then we have Manuscript B: the dreaded undergrad thesis. I have been working on this thing for a few years, and I really want to see it through, but it's getting harder and harder to stay motivated. It's on something completely unrelated to what I'm working on now (I looked at skull morphology in Centrosaurus to be exact), which makes it hard. I've started working on it again, and I need to re-learn all the ceratopsian skull terminology. Met with my former supervisor and co-author last week, and he decided that I need to do a phylogenetic analysis, which I've never done before outside of an assignment. Thanks to Andy Farke, I have a matrix to work with, and I'm slowly combining a few different matrices. I'm slowly learning how annoying it is when people use slightly different characters (like one paper uses one character as 0-75% and others use 0-80%. Why you have to be so difficult!), or switch around the character states. All in all, it's not too bad, just time consuming.

I suppose that after this year of ups and downs, I'm just burnt out. I've needed this break so badly without even realising it. What I would like to know is how people deal with the loss of motivation? What makes you push to get stuff done? I'm in serious need of being prodded into productivity... Help!