Today I’m posting a “Sam’s Blog Classic” entry. That is, I take an entry from my old blog and re-post it on my new blog because I’m just too busy to write a full entry. This one is topical. Remember when I was complaining about writing five pages?
I’ve spent the last week writing a five page paper. Single spaced. Double-column. 9-pt font.
The length isn’t even the issue, in fact it’s been a bit of a struggle to make it as short as it is; I’ve actually made the format more dense, changing from tiny spaces between paragraphs to indentations and removing all the spacing between the references. Even still, my entire system’s architecture diagram is stuffed onto one tiny column, covered in bubbles just big enough for the font to be legible and with short, stubby arrows filling the tiny spaces between them. The caption on this architecture diagram reads “certain modules omitted for simplicity.” I started this paper as an outline on Monday. It’s due Monday. Specifically, it’s due Monday at 11:59 (UTC-11), which means Tuesday at 6:59AM in Raleigh. Fortunately, I have two brilliant professors, both co-PIs on my project, who are helping me author this thing.
I work on it for a while and turn it in to one of them, who sends it back to me with to-dos. An awful lot of these to-dos are formatting issues, like removing the space between paragraphs. I was lucky enough to know how to use a reference manager to automatically handle my references because one of my tasks was to “change references to be alphabetically ordered.” That means all of the little numbered citation boxes need to be updated, too, then I would need to check them to make sure they’re pointing correctly. My advisor specifically asked me to do this. For my own personal health I will not imagine doing it by hand, as so many other academic authors apparently have done.
The paper just keeps getting better, though. Most people who look at it have been impressed, even this morning when the paper was almost entirely different. I’m thinking that after much reviewing and many iterations the explanation of my system may be understandable to people who aren’t me, but I’ll give it another week before I dump it onto my blog.