Haven't been writing much lately; haven't been reading too many other blogs, either.
Don't have the attention span to slog through other people's long, un-paragraphed posts.
Generally feel better on the days when, if I write in my journal at night before I go to bed, I can list off having done lots of different kinds of things, some for work and some for fun. Usually that correlates with satisfying both parts of my brain, being physically tired, and feeling general progress.
Somehow doing one thing, even one long arduous thing, doesn't seem as satisfying. I end up feeling like I didn't get anything done at all.
Had a couple of good, variety-filled days this week, and couple of frustrating sucky ones.
Some of the things I did in lab actually worked, but mostly I feel indecisive about what I should be doing next, scientifically speaking.
I have things I want to start, and things that I should finish that I don't feel like working on. Where I'm just stuck and trying to figure out how to go around the giant pothole that was the experiment I was planning to insert into Figure X part f.
Usually when this happens, I start throwing darts. I do the equivalent of poking around, scientifically speaking, with a bunch of pilot experiments aimed at asking about the underlying assumption that was Figure X - what created the pothole in the first place.
This really appeals to my attention deficit self. The trick is to get in and out as quickly as possible, or it's easy to hang around and spin my wheels just for fun. Doing lots of one-off experiments = fun, but not necessarily productive.
Eventually I will have to hunker down and be "focused". But when things are not working as expected, banging away at it as if it's my fault usually just leads to headache. If it were something I was doing wrong, I would have figured it out with a reasonable amount of banging. Anything beyond that means I'm banging on the wrong wall.
So I feel a little guilty about throwing darts, but I don't know where to go from here without doing that step first.
If there's anything I've learned in all the time I've been doing science, it's that when I'm stuck it's because the assumptions are wrong, not because I'm technically inept. I've also learned that I can't ask my advisers what they think I should do next. Asking my advisers always leads to suggestions, but following up on the suggestions never gets me where I want to go.
The best solution is to figure it out for myself. I just need to feel a little less guilty about doing the part of my job that I actually like best- the creative, investigative part. Even if that's not the part that gets you fame, fortune, or a job anytime in the near future.