Last week I finally got The Article of Eternal Return off my desk and back to the journal that had it most recently. That means that pretty much the only writing I got done this summer was an R&R of an essay that was already pretty polished--and perhaps 2/3 of which I left intact. I did some reorganization and made some major changes to the conceptual framework, but nothing that should have taken me two months.
Worse, I did nothing but work on that essay. I mean, sure: I went to the gym, and I ate and I slept and I faffed around on the internet. Maybe once a week I saw a friend or went to a movie. But I let the yard turn into a jungle and I put off errands for weeks at a time (taking 60 minutes to go to Target was way too much of a time commitment!); even running a load of laundry felt like an imposition.
There are always binge weeks here and there in the life of a project where I eat, drink, and dream whatever I'm working on--but usually they're pleasurable periods of mania when everything seems to be going right and all I want to be doing is writing. It doesn't feel grindingly painful. And it doesn't last for six weeks straight.
This tells me it was probably a mistake. Not the actual work I did, but my decision to gut it out until it was done. I'm in a dark psychological space with this piece, and probably the sane thing would have been to take a break, set it aside, and work on something I felt invigorated by and that might give me some renewed confidence. (In other words: what my advisor made me do with my first chapter.) But I don't know how to do that. I only know how to bite down hard, hold on, and not let go.