The Mandatory/Optional Project

This past year, I was self-diagnosed with paper paralysis – a common affliction found in doctoral students in which the sufferer cannot write and simply stares at their computer screen without any ability to type. Paper Paralysis stems from a fear of: writing something “bad,” not making sense, or not writing something “worthy” of doctoral study.

Mandatory/Optional is an attempt to overcome this affliction. I recognize that as a Ph.D student, I need to get comfortable with the discomfort of writing something “bad.” Therefore, I’m taking up the task of writing every day. Whether I want to or not. Whether I think I have any good ideas or not. I need to build a new, productive habit, and start to remove the seemingly perpetual writer’s block that I have built myself out of a lack of confidence in much of my written work.

The majority of my posts in this blog will relate to what I’m reading and thinking about academically, theoretically, socially(?). I need to work on responding freely and cogently to things in a way that I can stop focusing on the embarrassment I feel of not “getting it,” and work instead on trying to make sense of stuff through writing.

If you’re reading this, I encourage you to engage with me because that interaction will help me beat another aspect of Paper Paralysis – the self-conscious writer fearing to share their work with others.  Please: Ask me questions. Provide me with feedback. Be honest.

I want to get better and make Paper Paralysis a thing of my past. Mandatory/Optional is my first course of treatment.

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