I posted about stress and burnout, resolved to take some time off, and then reality started laughing in my face. I’ve squeezed out a few hours here and there, but not a 24 hour block of time. There’s some statement out there about a battle plan not lasting any longer than the first engagement with the enemy, and that’s exactly what I’m thinking about.
Back in May, I submitted an article on the writing we do in my mathematical modeling class to PRIMUS. In September, it came back from peer review. Since that time, I’ve been slammed with work, problems at work, stressors at work, moving my office at work, a major flood at work, and, well, I hope that is enough to explain why finding time for these revisions has been difficult at best. That my job has no time allocated to scholarly work or research sure didn’t help.
And the revisions weren’t easy. I realized back in May I’d picked a huge topic. That came home to roost; my biggest mandates was to cut my article down and focus. I’d work on the article for an hour or two and get stuck. Then I’d think about it for a week or more and come back to it again. Thus has been my effort all semester long.
I got a boost a week or two ago when one of the graduate students heaped some praise on my Epsilon > 0 Exercise Plan. That helped me realize I should apply the Epsilon Is Greater Than Zero Principle to my efforts on the paper. Sit down with the idea of spending 15 quality minutes on it. Just 15 minutes. You can quit after 15 minutes. Get yourself to do that much, and it is amazing how quickly progress is made.
Today’s long hours had a nice reward. The article is finished and resubmitted. I am grateful for friends and mentors who took their time to help me with the final edits. I am grateful for those who encouraged me to just keep going every step of the way. Those who reminded me: just keep trying. Just keep trying. Just keep trying. I did.
Now I suspect I have another 2 month wait to see if I need to do further revisions or if it is accepted. I doubt it will make the special issue on Writing in Mathematics, because I had too many delays. But then again, I may be just in the nick of time before the final resubmission deadline; there may be some hope. I will see.
Today, if just for a few minutes, I celebrate.