Coming up for air every now and then

I’ve been working a lot recently. Right now it’s for 3 CHI papers. CHI is a big conference in our field, so we kinda submit everything we’re working on to it. This is a minor problem because it’s all the deadlines happening at once.

Funny things:
- when I was a first-year student, I couldn’t imagine how these older students were always submitting like 5 papers to everything. The answer: it’s mostly a lot of resubmits of things that have been rejected before :P Of the three, one is new (from summer work) one is half-new (half from a rejected paper from Ubicomp in the spring) and one is old (last summer work). And we just had a summer, which is kinda the only time you can work uninterrupted. So… if any newer students are reading this, worrying about how to make even one paper, let alone three… don’t worry about it.

- I kind of feel a little bit excited to have this be *the most important thing I could be doing* - and the chance to finish three projects if all goes well! (that is a low chance. but I can finish at least some project, hopefully.)

- But that’s definitely my #2 feeling about all this; mostly it’s just a lot of work, especially writing-work, which is kinda the hardest kind.

- Why is writing the hardest? It’s not the actual putting-words-down-on-paper, it’s all the work that has to happen to put all the words down. Like, in the “related work” sections, you have to read a lot before you can write. In the “method” section, well, you have to write the code and analyze the data, and then go back and read through it all to remember what you did. For “results” you probably have to do some stats and make some charts and graphs. This all takes a while. So while we gripe about writing, it’s really just the 100%-finishing everything that was 85% finished before.

- I like the first 85% better than the last 15%. Eh.

- When you step back a bit, all our papers are a bit silly, this whole thing is a bit silly. I’ve been trying to feel Sisyphus, like the happy-Sisyphus, like whatever magic Camus works to make Sisyphus a positive/fulfilled/noble fellow. I guess as it applies here: keep pushing the rock, don’t look up to see how much more mountain there is to go.

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