Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Reflections on the Diss Handoff (Pt. 1)

So the reason I've been absent from the Internets for so long is pretty predictable: I've been too busy writing and editing to write. The dissertation project was huge and nasty, and it's not entirely done until it's successfully defended, formatted, and deposited.

But yesterday I passed a huge milestone in this pursuit: I turned in a full dissertation draft to my doctoral advisor, a full 4 days ahead of the end of the window we'd talked about.

I've worked tremendously hard in the last couple of months, especially in the last week, to get ahead of schedule so that I could shoo away this little dark cloud that's been following me everywhere for the last year like some sort of cartoon menace. I've given up days off. I've stayed up repeatedly until 5 a.m., giving myself only a few hours of sleep.

But it was worth it, all the pain. The cloud isn't gone, but it's moved over a few feet, allowing for the sun to peek through. And the draft feels good. I won't know whether I truly successfully communicated until my advisor tells me I have (followed by my committee), but this feeling, the feeling that I've discovered new insights and was able to put them on paper in the right sorts of ways--this is my "crack" that keeps me coming back again and again to writing, no matter what kind.

It's interesting, because of course there were huge chunks of time during this process when I absolutely hated it, when I despaired of ever moving the black cloud even an inch, when only having one of my dissertation support group (brilliant invention, by the way--thanks Pamela for starting it!) come over and make me write worked to keep me going. But the payoff is worth it.

Anyway, more thoughts on this soon--there are many churning around in my head about the dissertation writing process that I need to, well, process. For now I'll say farewell, and promise that this blog will become more active again this summer, because now that I'm done with the bulk of my writing I have time to write again.

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