Tuesday afternoons are my block of time to work on things I need to get deeply into. This works out very well and I love the fact that I'll be doing it next semester as well.
Yesterday I went across town to the library with a coffee shop (gotta love that!!). I took one of my papers and made the committment to myself that I would have a full version of the paper before I left for home -- and I actually did it. It took me until closing time, but I have a full version of a paper defending exemptions to non-combatant immunity in supreme emergency situations. The scary part is that I think it is really good.
It feels to me that this paper is a huge leap forward in my writing. I started this paper from scratch in early August when my ever-so-wise dissertation supervisor gave me several pages of detailed feedback on what I thought was going to be a good paper. In essence, he told me that I'd done a good job of the research, but the writing was uneven and needed a lot of work. He also told me that the paper wasn't focused and didn't make a cohesive argument. And he was right -- very right. It was 30ish pages of rambling and not really an argument.... so, I started over.
This time I followed his version of advise I give to my own students. Pick a topic that is a problem in the world. Discuss how other people have decided the problem ought to be resolved, tell me what is wrong with their solution and then tell me why your proposed meta-solution would help to solve this individual problem. That is what I did.
Now -- the interesting bit is that while I was at the library, I got an e-mail from the Red state job people. They said that their position announcemnts weren't complete and that there is a second position open down there, for which I am a much better candidate. This makes a difference in the writing sample I'm going to give them -- the supreme emergencies paper shows them that I am a much better fit for them than what I'd planned on using.... aargh. Now I'm going to have to polish this paper rather quickly to get it in.... I suppose there is nothing like the pressure of a time committment to get me going, huh??
Sadly, my students will have to wait for their papers a bit longer.... I suppose they'll survive.