I have realized something about myself: I am stuck in the past. I suppose that's why I gravitated to archaeology! Today I have been working on mapping out the last section of my theory chapter, in which I really get into the nuts and bolts of the Organization of Technology and the various design considerations that are relevant to my work. I had already written 37 pages of other theory leading up to this point, and was now at the stage where I needed to figure some way to compile, condense and communicate the volume of information that has been written on the subject of Technological Organization....which is not an easy task. For a theory that sounds so simple (it's all about relating artifacts to the behaviors that produced them, including the immediate technological behaviors, as well as broader cultural patterns that reflect the ways humans interact with their environments and solve adaptive problems posed by those environments) it is surprisingly complex.
So there I was, surrounded by articles and pages of notes, and staring at the chapter-so-far on my laptop. I read and reread what I had already written, and was attempting to devise a plan for inserting some additional information and references but, somehow, I just couldn't seem to figure out exactly what to edit, and where it needed "beefing up." It finally hit me: I needed it on paper, not on a computer screen! I have gotten fairly good over the years at being able to sit down and just write on the computer, without the copious handwritten notes that I used to require in my undergrad. If I have a basic outline, and my necessary resources right at hand, I can usually sit down and write relatively extemporaneously. But when it comes to editing, that is a whole different story!
For some reason, despite the ease of the "delete" button, the handiness of "track changes," and the impermanence of the MS Word "highlight" tool, I still find myself needing a stack of paper in front of me, and a pen in hand. There just does not seem to be a substitute, in my mind, for crossing out, jotting in, drawing arrows, flipping the page over to continue my notes, and even for doing a little doodling in the margins (hey, it helps me think!). I seem to be a very visual and hands-on person in my approach to learning. I can get the glimmer of an idea in a more abstract manner, but when it comes right down to it, I need to "draw it out" to make it coalesce.
A fuddy-duddy I may be, but it's worked for me so far!