I just had a meeting with my adviser (grad school) about a paper I'm writing. The process is that I write, he reads it and makes corrections/comments, I revise based on his comments, and repeat ad nauseum. The majority of his comments improve the paper IMO, but it's a very frustrating process on both sides. The "Harry Potter" part? He thinks my writing is improving, but not as fast as he would like, so we end up discussing this every single time
he hands back a draft, and he asks me how I think we could speed up this process. *headdesk* Well, not wasting time rehashing the same discussion over and over might be a start. Trust me, Professor, if I knew how to accelerate this process and get the paper written to your standards within the first draft or two, I would have done it by now
. I want to be done with this hellish process as much as you do! Possibly more! I'm already trying everything I know.
He also wants a quick turn-around on revisions and
for me to take more time to think about the structure, etc. Faster turn-around or me taking more time to think about X--please pick one, because I can't do both. He wonders why I didn't do Y in the draft, when Y is something we discussed after
the draft was written and in his hands. Sorry Prof, no time machine. And finally, as soon as I learn one of his "rules" for writing and get in the habit of implementing it, he promptly decides it's time to throw in a random exception.
I pare down my writing to a concise, factual, "dry" style in response to his comments, then get slammed for being too dry and boring and needing to keep the readers interested, next he's again extolling the virtues of a dry writing style.
Some days, I really wish I could just say "Hey, we've discussed all this a hundred times already. The hundred-and-first time isn't going to trigger a magical epiphany on my part. Will you please just go away
so I can get started on the revisions and possibly learn something from them?" But that would probably land me in the student Darwinism thread, so I'll just keep nodding and mm-hmming until he's done and I can do the ding-dangity revisions.
It's not just me, BTW. All of his students go through this process, and they never learn the writing "fast enough." And although I'm sure it's hard to believe, I actually do like my adviser when we're not in the middle of the morass of writing. He's a genuinely nice guy, just with an habit of flogging a dead horse until I want to bury the thing, encase it in concrete, and build a few pyramids on top so he'll let the it drop already.