I'm taking music lessons this summer, re-learning how to play an instrument that I used to play, albeit briefly, as a child, and it is expanding my brain in all sorts of ways. Learning how to read music again after a couple of decades is quite a challenge! But I'm feeling the growth that is happening and noticing the little improvements bit by bit in this area. It also feels good to have a task which has instant feedback. If I do poorly, I can hear it and try to fix it, if I do well, I can beam with pride and keep my fingers moving. (It helps also that my music teacher uses lots of post-its and tape flags in different colors and that just makes me happy for reasons that I can't really explain). I wish that writing these two papers gave me more instant feedback like that.
Instead, I'm writing little bits of things that are okay but uninspired, don't flow and gel and everything is coming out at a glacial pace. To top it off, I'm not really sure exactly where I'm going with either paper. Co-author seems to have dropped off the face of the earth, and I've not tried to contact her either. She must not have written her piece, which means that I've got a few more parts of this paper to work on than I thought I did.
There's been a lot of reading I've had to do to get anything written because these are just far enough outside my area that I've had to catch up. Now that I'm caught up on the reading, I feel behind on the writing and I thrive on seeing my own progress. I just can't see what I've done with this summer besides loads of unnecessary travel to see family. I wish that would motivate me to work, but it makes me want to procrastinate even more. Sigh.