“Research first” tends to be code for “publications first” but I am using it a little differently in these posts. I mean it literally: you have to do research first.
I always did — except for my dissertation, which I was supposed to just write, and my book, which I was also supposed to just write. That is why I did not find value in these projects, or in the products.
I have spent my life being exhorted not to prepare class, because I should be writing, and not to read, because I should be writing. That is why I have spent as much time paralyzed or nervous as I have.
The thing is that to give class you do have to prepare it and to write you do have to read, and both class preparation and archival work and reading are research.
So, in the name of research productivity I have always been exhorted not to do research, and this is the paradox.