Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Deadlines and Disappointment

So I’ve nearly gone two months again without posting – I’m sorry for that. Between assignment deadlines and a stint of work the last month has been pretty stressful and it’s not letting me off yet either. My next deadline is tomorrow but luckily when you’re reading this I have already submitted my piece. I did spend a good deal of last week pissing about *not* working on it because I’m scared of my story. Which was really stupid of me because my last assignment deadline was an insane scramble at the last minute so I shouldn’t want to do the same thing twice in one month.

My last deadline turned into three-day period of frantic drafting and eye-bleedingly brutal editing so I could get my short story submitted only five minutes before the end of the “12hr grace period” which I have exploited far too frequently in my OU career. It wasn’t meant to go like that. I had a plan to get a first draft of the story done in mid-Feb, so I could tell myself the story without caring about the word count. Then over the next 2-3 weeks before my deadline I could work on revising the story until it was within the 2,500-2750 word limit that this assignment called for, and get it submitted early – all chill and relaxed y’know?

But that plan got shot to shit when my mother asked me if I could do some cover work for her company – for two weeks out of the three before my deadline. At that point I was dangerously close to having absolutely no money in any of my accounts so I couldn’t not say yes and that’s without my unwillingness to disappoint my mother. I thought that I could manage working full-time for two weeks and still get my writing done – I mean I wrote around 50K in the first part of 2014 while I was working full-time as a TA *and* doing two different study courses at the same time so surely I could manage a couple of thousand words over two weeks??

Turns out I couldn’t. Despite barely being busy for about half of the time I was working as Reception Cover I only got about 900 words written over those two weeks. I emailed myself the word document back and forth so I could work on it during quiet times at the office – I had periods of several hours where the phone wouldn’t ring and I had nothing else to do but I just couldn’t get myself into a good writing flow to churn out a draft of the story. Then when I got home my brain checked out and I wasted the rest of my day catching up on all the internet stuff that I couldn’t access at work.

So I ended up have only three days to somehow clobber out the rest of this short story then rein it back to within the TMA word limit as well as writing a commentary about my creative process that sounded like I had actually bothered to use the module’s textbook as anything more than an oversized paperweight. By the night before my deadline I had a complete draft of the story that I really liked – it was unfortunately 4,000 words too long.

Now obviously I was tad worried that I wouldn’t be able to get the draft edited down to the right size in time without completely rewriting it, yet I didn’t email my tutor to ask for an extension. Why? Because I hated feeling like I’d failed and that I needed to ask for more time. I should have been able to get the assignment done well ahead of my deadline so I was basically punishing myself for not meeting the goal that I’d arbitrarily set.

As I mentioned above I did manage to get my story edited and submitted in time but there has been a particularly frustrating development to this tale which I never expected when I started writing this post. I should have got my mark back in 10 working days, so by the 23rd at the latest, yet I’d still got nothing on Monday. Until I got an email from my tutor at 11 o’clock at *night* as I was about to go to bed, that sparked such rage I didn’t get to sleep for another 2 & a half hours.

It turns out that my tutor managed to misplace my story on her own computer drive and thought she didn’t have it for over two weeks! It only occurred to her on MONDAY THE 27th to email me to ask where it was despite not having any contact from me telling her my submission would be late (cos you know that would be standard academic practice to INFORM SOMEONE ABOUT A DELAY). Needless to say my email back to her strongly expressed my distinct displeasure with remarkably no expletives.

The most hilariously ironic part of all of this is that when I got my mark back yesterday afternoon, it has somehow transpired that this short story - which was the most difficult to complete out of all the assignments I’ve done this year – has ended up with the best mark. It is the *only* TMA that I’ve got a First on from either of my Level 3 modules. What the fuck do I even *do* with that? I mean seriously?

I’ve spent the last two weeks worried as hell that my tutor was going to hate my story and that, despite the glowing endorsements from my wonderful friends who read it while I was frantically hacking it shorter, that it was actually shit. I’m honestly not sure if this mark is validation I actually deserve.

Is it strange that I still feel like I’m a disappointment by having fluked a great mark *yet again* when the majority of my effort only came at the last possible moment and even then I feel like it wasn’t the most I could’ve put into it?

At least I only have one deadline left then if all things go like I hope, this degree I’ve been dragging myself towards for the last 8 years will finally be done. Thank gawd.


Post a Comment

No judgment, no hate, because it is already tough enough being a girl.