The "feature creep" of paper writing

Yesterday I got into campus bright and early, and while the chilly walk there did wonders for me, apart from two very productive early morning hours, I hardly got any work done because it was so cold in my building. Today, I've warmed up my home study and will be disconnecting the internet and going in there as soon as I've had my coffee.

There are some writing projects that I thought were almost done before the fall semester started and my plan for this spring was to get both of those papers that have been in my sidebar for so long out, out, out.

Well, getting back to these projects yesterday after setting them aside for a while has made me notice some serious problems in how I have divided up my ideas and work. I noticed that instead of just writing something simple, I turned both of these papers into grand-impossible-projects that would suck the life out of anyone. Well, at least they were heading in that direction.

A friend of mine who works in the gaming industry has distilled my problem into the term "feature creep," which I understood as the desire to continue to add more and more features into a product, presumably as you continue to miss deadlines for publishing the software. I think the visions for both of these papers started out realistic and then just kept spiraling out until they reached this impossible point.

My mission now is to just figure out how to work within these grand visions I have for my life and my discipline (yes, I have this problem in other aspects of life too), and just find a small piece that I can work with and tackle that one step at a time. For today, I'm going to start to cut down that vision to something more realistic and try to set up these articles so that I have a more achievable set of goals for the next few weeks.


Bookbag said...

I have the same problem, and I'd never been able to name it until the day. For me, the "feature creep" is usually driven by a sense that what I had planned on writing - the simple, doable paper -- is no good because other people will think it is boring/stupid/insignificant. One of the things I'm really working on this year is trying to have more confidence in my work. Sounds like you're starting the year off right!

オテモヤン said...
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