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Passion and Precision

April 19, 2013   

Last Sunday I did not go to sleep.  I was up all night writing a German paper that was not due until Wednesday.  It probably would have been better for me to go to sleep.  It probably would have been better to work in small steps over the next few days, slowing chipping away at the lengthy assignment.  But for whatever reason, I felt the need to keep going.

I could not find the time to start my paper until late Sunday afternoon; I was completely unsure of where to begin.  After two hours of searching through my books, the word document in front of me remained starkly blank.  I had been working all weekend—catching up on old homework assignments and readings.  My mind was spent, completely willing to give up on the writing process before it had ever begun.  I walked off to dinner.

I hesitantly wandered back to my desk later that evening.  I was not sure if I had the focus to work that night.  But when I sat back down and stared at the computer screen, my thoughts came into sudden alignment.  The thesis was obvious; the quotes I needed were even plainer to see.  It was as if a map leading to buried treasure had been laid out in front of me.

I did not want to lose this moment of clarity.  The clock read 7:30 p.m. – I had 12 hours until I needed to get up for school.  So I went to work and did not stop.  It was an easy-going night.  I felt no pressure to keep writing, to fill pages with nonsense in hopes of reaching some word limit.  Rather, I worked purposefully as my thoughts came to me.  If I became bogged down, I took a few minutes to check email or wander youtube—and then went right back to work.

I was completely satisfied with the quality of my writing that night.  Over the next few days, as I read through my paper over and over, I found few mistakes.