Thanksgiving break for me means time to focus on my thesis paper for more than a day. And I am thankful for that.

However, I continue to struggle to stay focused. My paper calls for me to review my notes. My notes lead me to the books I read. The books I read beg for me to read them again. Chapters that probably aren’t relevant become extremely interesting. The next thing I know I’m not writing any more, and am wondering if my paper isn’t really about whatever I’m reading, or possibly something else I haven’t read.

Harold Nelson and Erik Stolterman might call what I’m experiencing as a combination of analysis paralysis—generation of too much divergent information without a means for convergence—and holistic paralysis—attempting to be comprehensive.

“We can never know all there is to know and can go on gathering facts forever. As designers, we must face this reality and not expect to be completely comprehensive; instead, we must endeavor to construct meaning out of the complexity and chaos that constitutes the real world. This is an action of exploration of possibility.” —Nelson and Stolterman, The Design Way

This snippet came at the right time. Like the design process, I need to move forward with what I have, trusting myself to make meaning out of the complexity and chaos I have already uncovered. By the end of this weekend, I will have finished a complete draft of what I intend my thesis paper to be—an action of exploration of possibility.