At the time of writing, I am in the middle of writing my research project. Writing a research project can be a task so overwhelming and a prospect so daunting. I was overwhelmed even before I have started writing the research proposal and I am sill overwhelmed today even I am already in the middle of writing it. I have even tried to delayed the inevitable and wasted a lot of time in the past, because I was so scared to even begin.
Each day, I sit behind my desk and my computer is the first thing I turn-on in the morning. It is also the last equipment I turn-off late at night. In some days, the ideas are clear and the words are not elusive. But in most cases, I struggle to even grasp the and conceive the ideas let alone to form the words that would express it. This is particularly difficult especially for somebody like myself whose English is not the mother tongue. It even sometimes hurt to read what I have written because it shows how incompetent I am. It really does hurt.
When ideas come, they come all at the same time, but they come incoherently. Imagine pieces of jigsaw puzzle are poured on your desk. Each piece represents an idea and you must arrange them together to make a coherent narrative. That is not as easy as it sounds. It could be very frustrating. Then there is the debate within yourselves where you scrutinize the things you have said before.
Sometimes I feel that I am of my depths. I am overwhelmed by the task ahead. Sometimes, when I am sitting behind my desk and the words do not come around, I feel agitated. I get stressed and the stress manifest in my body. I get dizzy, I feel the change in my heartbeat as it goes faster, I get this pain in my lower back, sometimes I could not even breath. I want to cry, I want to scream, I even want to smash the computer.
Some of my friends have advised me that when the words and ideas are elusive, I should not stress myself so much. I should try to do something else and try to relax. Instead of writing, try to read texts that are relevant to the topic I am writing or perhaps have a long walk. That does not work for me, because it is precisely when the words and ideas are elusive that I am more determined to grasp them. I cannot help it. And when I have finally grasp them or at least think to be grasping them, I get this sense of fulfilment, so cathartic.
When all things said and done, one should not refuse to acknowledge that it is precisely because we are so overwhelmed by the task bigger than ourselves that makes such task worth fulfilling. If what we do is so easy, then where is the challenge in that? I think that it is only when we are doing something slightly above our depths that we can really discover our talents and able to reach the full potential of our lives. Imagine the gratification we will eventually get when we have finally delivered the promise we thought at first that we were not equipped to deliver in the first place.
The whole idea is to engage oneself in a project that are slightly above one’s self. It is quite gratifying to finally be able to successfully fulfil a task that we are not quite sure we are going to succeed. Being overwhelmed by something is therefore not necessarily a bad thing as long as it is within reasons. By within reason I mean that while you are quite sure that you will not fail, you are also not very sure if you would really succeed. Besides, I love writing. Not being a good writer does not make me love writing any less.
When we write, we find ourselves in a transcendental space. That space is neither here nor there while at the same time, being everywhere and simultaneously nowhere.