By TJ Smith
8:00 a.m. — Progress: 0 words
OK, yesterday may have been a struggle, but I have a feeling that today is going to be the day that you finally get on top of me. You set the alarm and actually managed to get up early, and from the look on your face, I feel like you had an epiphany last night on the Street. You just need to sit down and focus, and we’ll get through chapter 4 in no time. Oh, good idea. Go ahead and check your email to make sure your adviser hasn’t sent anything, and then we can really get to work.
8:24 a.m. — Progress: 0 words
Looks like there wasn’t anything important in your inbox, so let’s get to it! Wait, where are you going? To get food? Of course, just grab a quick breakfast and you’ll have the energy to apply yourself. It’s like they always say: Food is the food of the mind. (That was a good one. Can you fit that into the chapter somewhere?) I’ll be waiting here when you get back.
10:34 a.m. — Progress: 0 words
Well, you certainly had enough time to energize yourself. But now there’s nothing holding us back — let’s do this! Write on, man. (Did you see what I did there? You should use that caliber of wordplay in your section titles.)
10:47 a.m. — Progress: 0 words
I’m not going to go away, you know. I’ve got it! You need to just start writing whatever pops into your head, stream of consciousness style. We can go back and edit it tomorrow, but right now the most important thing is to get something written down, anything at all. Release your inner James Joyce.
11:15 a.m. — Progress: 1 word
“The”? Really? Do you even go here? This is your fourth year at Princeton, and the best you can come up with is “the.” You took creative writing with Joyce Carol Oates for heaven’s sake! Didn’t you learn anything? No, why are you minimizing me?! Don’t tell me you’re googling Joyce Carol Oates right now. You are, aren’t you? I don’t even have words to express my disappointment in you, because the only word you’ve given me in the past three hours is “the”!
11:32 a.m. — Progress: 1 word
11:44 a.m. — Progress: 1 word
I lost my temper there, I’m sorry. Let’s just get through this together … hello? Are you at lunch already? Of course you’re at lunch already, all of this herculean intellectual labor really works up an appetite, doesn’t it? You know what? Fine. We can play it that way if you want, but the next time you try to close me after not changing anything, I’m going to ask if you want to save the changes since your last save. What changes? That’s for me to know and you to never find out! Unless you go back and read what you’ve written, that is, but we both know that’s not going to happen.
1:42 p.m. — Progress: 1 word
Are you ready to work yet? You gained your freshman 15 four years ago, and you can’t hide from me with emotional eating forever. Now it’s time to get serious. Just sit down, take out some of your research, and write me! Please tell me you aren’t googling Oprah Winfrey right now. Is it because I said emotional eating? And now you’re watching clips of the Ellen DeGeneres Show on YouTube. How did you get through my first three chapters anyway?
1:55 p.m. — Progress: 1 word
OK, so those dancing British children were pretty cute, I’ll give you that. Maybe if you just watch one more video you’ll get it out of your system, and you can finally get back to work.
5:30 p.m. — Progress: 1 word
Well, that happened. I think we both learned a valuable lesson from that. There can’t be anymore distractions though, you’ve exhausted the Internet’s supply of screaming goats, and we’re no closer to explaining the reappropriation of the rhetoric of the French Revolution in Brazilian popular music from the 1940s. Wait, is that actually your topic? Wow … this is worse than I thought.
5:41 p.m. — Progress: 1 word
Dinner already? How much can you eat?
7:47p.m. — Progress: 1 word
That much, apparently. OK, no more distractions. You’ve eaten all you can eat, you’ve watched all you can watch, you don’t have any more time to play around, and now you’re cleaning your dorm, again. You never clean your dorm room! I’m starting to worry about you now. What happened to that bright-eyed freshman who dreamed of writing me so many years ago? Remember the future we planned together? We were going to change the world, to really make something of ourselves, but I guess life has killed those dreams we dreamed. Go ahead; I know you want to look up “Les Mis” on IMDB now.
8:05 p.m. — Progress: 1 word
Why don’t we just think of clever section titles? That’s fun, isn’t it? Maybe something like Vive la “Movimento Musica Viva,” or Let Them Eat … Choro? You should’ve picked a topic that lends itself more easily to wordplay. I’m starting to lose hope. Maybe you should just quit college and move back home.
9:30 p.m. — Progress: 3,196 words
What … what just happened? I mean, I’m happy and everything, but you didn’t even open up any of your sources. Are you just making all of this stuff up? Actually, I don’t want to know. It’s not like anyone’s ever going to read me once I’ve been graded. Nice work today. Same time tomorrow?