Today I got feedback from the lab about my review. Most of the feedback said that I need to make my points more clearly and not bury them in the middle of the paper. As one person commented, I need to do a better job of saying what I'll say, saying it, and then saying what I said. I also haven't found the right audience, or the right angle.
Herb said in grad school he read two reviews on the same topic. One was an exhaustive summary of the literature, and the other took the literature and made a point with it. I need to do more of the latter and less of the former.
Basically, I've done a lot of reading, thinking, and writing, but I still don't have a clear, interesting, or memorable way to communicate my synthesis. I'm a little bit discouraged, but I'm not going to let myself get down about it. I can publish this (someday!); I just need an epiphany like the one I had a few weeks ago about my GRF application.
As much as I want to, I am going to resist the urge to stop thinking about this paper for a while. I'm not going to put as much energy into it until after the GRFP application is due, but I'm not going to ignore it completely. I'm hoping that if I keep coming back to it every few days and thinking about it a little bit at a time that I'll have another breakthrough.