This is Harrrrrrd: Sources, Outlines, Blocks

I’ll be honest. I am having a rough time with this assignment. I feel like a deer caught in the headlights. Though I must admit; my modus operandi is to freak and get writer’s block, unfortunately. The aftermath of the bibliographic essay has me feeling like I’ve taken a perfectly good appliance, like a coffee maker, and dismantled it. And now I have to remember how to put it back together. And if I don’t reassemble it within 48 hours a bomb will go off, in the style of MacGruber/MacGyver.

Okay, I guess it’s not that bad really. One research-related problem I have is how to know when I should be referring to a secondary source to support a claim. Initially, this seems like a problem with a simple answer, ‘easy, refer to it as evidence.’ But once I start writing and my argument begins evolving, and my thesis commences changing: I feel like I run the risk of using too much or too little of my sources. Sometimes I come up with a new idea for the paper, and then I wonder if that means I need to go find a new source to back up my idea. I think the key is to remain “in conversation,” with the sources as Dr. Houser would say. Nevertheless, I am having a difficult time with this.

I also have trouble with outlines. According to The Craft of Research, someone like me who tends to write papers very slowly, reluctant to move on until a sentence is “just so,” should be writing long and detailed outlines.  I used to write long complex outlines, but they made absolutely no sense. Over the last two years I’ve become more and more haphazard with outlines as a result of over planning the early ones. However, last week I wrote an outline for a paper on a post-it note. I need to work on finding a middle ground between an overly long outline and a post-it note. Otherwise, I will continue to just sit and stare at the computer.

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