It’s a revise and resubmit. How hard can it be?
It feels impossible.
A revise and resubmit feels worse than starting something new.
Especially this revise and resubmit. I was asked if I would be interested in writing something for a special issue of a journal that I should be publishing in, and because I am a fool, I agreed. Then I procrastinated on the assignment for months. Eventually I cranked out what I considered to be a pretty shitty essay, and sent it off.
And I forgot about it, until a couple months later when I got the reviewer comments back and was asked to revise and resubmit. I quickly glanced over the reviewer comments and filed the email away, because I didn’t have time to go back to that essay in the middle of the semester. I would get to it when classes ended.
Well, classes have ended, and now I’ve procrastinated again, so that I’m left with one weekend to revise this essay into something worth publishing.
I complain about how impossible it feels to tackle this R&R, and my colleagues just stare at me, disgusted. As they should. I have been gifted with an R&R, and I should be thankful for it. But the anxiety involved in going back over this paper is overwhelming. My chest hurts as I squirm in my seat, trying to figure out where to start.
I open a new Word document, try to convince myself to start typing. Just write something. Nothing comes out. I grab a notepad and start writing down the issues I need to address – my R&R to-do list. I turn back to the Word document – surely I will have words now that I know what to do! But still, there are no words. I stand up, walk around my office, trying to shake myself out of the funk. I start making an outline on the white board on my wall. Just put everything in order and it will start to flow, I tell myself. I sit back down at the computer, and there’s still nothing.
I grow increasingly irritated with my inability to do any work, and my irritability only makes it more difficult for me to think and to write. I become angry. I tell my boyfriend that I am having a hard time, and he tells me we all have bad days.
I try self-care. It’s okay. You can write tomorrow.
Except you’re running out of time because you put this off for two months!
You’re depressed, the compassionate side of my brain counters.
No, you’re lazy. You use depression as a crutch. You’re a lazy, worthless, piece of shit. You don’t even deserve a revise and resubmit. You’re not good enough for academia and you never will be. You should just quit now.
There’s not a winning side in that argument. I tie myself into knots trying to figure out which part of my brain is correct (Am I depressed? I’ve been depressed before and gotten work done, so obviously I’m just lazy.). At the end of the day, I still haven’t written anything, but I am exhausted.