Day – 30 Reflections

I can’t drag out this project into the new year. I want it done by Christmas. I don’t mind editing typos and making small adjustments post Christmas, but I am that “ya know, it’s okay if you guys go ahead, take that extra walk up the Puy de Dome. I am perfectly fine down here. Send me a selfie! I’m heading down and outta town! I am ready for my next adventure!”

I can’t think about it until I do these rewrites. My supervisors have reassured me it’s not going to be that arduous a task. I am slowly immersing myself into it again. In the shower tonight I thought of ways I could incorporate one of the key theorists I have only mentioned in footnotes. I’ve done the academic thing and overcomplicated a taken for granted phenomenon, or at least that’s how it feels right now. Feels like I’m stating the obvious in too many words.

The thing is, everyone has told me it’s not a PhD. It’s a Masters, you just need to show that you can synthesise information and demonstrate you get the key theories. I don’t have enough words to work with. Arghh

Here’s what I’m going to do:

1) not think about it before bed – going to be hard if it drags into the holidays as night time is when I have time to self to think.

2) I will make the technical changes but run things through my supervisors before re-structuring.

3) remember that it is doable. I just have to force myself to sit there and write.

Which leads me to the question of why if I have discovered in middle age that I am more of an extrovert than introvert, am I still wanting to tell stories through writing when there are so many other ways and I am obviously more of a visual person. Am I just slack? Too lazy or afraid to step out of my comfort zone?

What I need is a holiday. I’m seriously considering booking myself a few days somewhere to write uninterrupted. I need to take this more seriously and it must be my priority after tomorrow until it’s complete.

I also need another blog to dump my other thoughts. This blog is solely a place to track my progress.

The plan for tomorrow – if I find the time.

1) read through feedback. It’s all in a binder now so I can easily flip through it. Make notes on the hard copy.

2) remember how good progress feels and picture end goal. Right now it’s about motivation.

3) do the easy parts first – eg typos, signposting diagrams etc this is the way into other work.

4) write down what I might want to restructure but don’t do it until I get the okay.

5) jot down the questions I have for my supervisors.

6) don’t overthink!!! Don’t focus on the two bad bricks.

None of the ideas I am playing with are alien to me. The theorists are. It’s not hard. It’s not Astro physics.

Okay now I’m all motivated but I need sleep.

5)

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Resetting the countdown clock

But not today.

I am giving myself a few days off. There’s not much I can do without a hard copy.

I got a summary of the feedback. It’s not too shabby at all, but I do have to restructure a few sections. I can’t be bothered thinking about it today, but I will next week. Kid is at school for another two weeks and then hubby is on leave. I can get it done and submit before Christmas.

Hopefully they will mark it within months, and I will get to graduate before semester 1 ends. Done and dusted.

Bucket list. Tick.

Meanwhile, I have to tend to home duties.

Blerghhh.

Why can’t we live on muesli bars?

Preliminary feedback

It’s been 3-4 weeks since I submitted my penultimate draft. I’ve caught up with some friends, been more present for my family and extended family, started a few books and binged/skim watched a few Netflix shows: The Good Place (so clever and lol funny); Riverdale (see your 90s icons which is Beverly Hills 90210 meets Twin Peaks, for the post Gossip Girl generation); Suits (legal drama starring Prince Harry’s girlfriend and someone who is reminiscent of an old teacher as corporate lawyers you don’t really care about); and Dynasty (it doesn’t take itself seriously, and nor should you).

While it’s been great to take a break from working on the thesis, I feel a bit lost without something to work on. I do have ideas for the next thing, but am not in the headspace to think that far ahead.

I have had a few, oh gawd I need to move to a more dynamic part of time, but I’m not in my 20s and I don’t have a regular babysitter. It makes no difference where I live at the moment and I am not going to lose sleep over school zones for high school.

I am looking forward to meeting with my supervisors because then it’s the home stretch. Right now, I can’t see the wood from the trees. I’m guessing I will have a meeting the week after next to discuss final edits, and then it’s done!

Yawn.

I’ll restart the countdown clock when I get feedback.

Then it’s final draft, submit, a once over making sure I’ve no typos and have referenced everything. They say it’s better to over than under reference.

Yawn.

Day -73

These posts are more for me to keep up to date with what needs to be done, with a few sideline musings – but not too many as I need to stay focused.

Intro – Few edits

Chapter 1 – Needs restructuring and more work

Chapter 2 – Haven’t rewritten

Chapter 3- Haven’t yet received feedback

Chapter 4 – Just submitted but I’m thinking I’ve written way too much for a project of this scale.

Chapter 5 – Findings and Discussions – my task from now until the 28th August. Hopefully I will get this done before then and move onto

Chapter 6 – Conclusions.

Then I put it all together and rewrite it again.

And then I put it together with the other section and edit it again.

Then I submit the damn thesis.

Then hopefully I will have someone to mark it and graduate by Christmas!

Then I can move on with my life.

ow

 

Day -82

Submitted 2/7 chapter drafts.

Yay.So I’m refining the process. I realise that I need to rewrite at least 3 times. I have 4 drafts before submitting it to my supervisor. There’s no point in holding onto it for any longer because by this 4th rewrite I have nothing new to offer.

I’m taking a couple of days off and then will rewrite the review of literature. This is apparently the most straight forward chapter because I don’t need to offer anything new, but I find it the hardest because it involves combing through all my notes. I’ve read hundreds if not thousands of articles and chapters around the topic over the 3 years, and I only developed a system of collecting all of these in one place (Zotero! Zotero!) I hold  a lot of information in my head which isn’t always the best thing as I automatically dump what’s not useful when life gets in the way. You know that whole life thing.

I know it’s going to feel so good when I finish.

I might have to acknowledge someone other than my kid in this thesis. Wouldn’t be able to write any of this if I didn’t have hubby looking after him.

Another post writing reflection:

I can now understand everything written in this book! I purchased it at the beginning of my degree and thought, “OMFG WTF?” Now I understand the concepts in the book I am going to read it for fun.  Now if I can only figure out how to find my 10 year old’s digital wish list.

 

-83 days to submission

I made it.

I completed another chapter to a level where I only have to do some minor edits. I’ll do that tomorrow.

I’ve been quite crabby today wondering why I feel that I still have to cook etc…when I’m not the only one home. Or rather why I feel guilty I’m not doing any housework.

Seriously, anyone who has a family and managed to complete any brain work from home has my respect.

Next up is one of my more difficult chapters even though everyone says it’s the easiest.

I’m going to email this to my supervisor tomorrow morning and take the weekend off.

Toodaloo…

 

Violin progress: nilch

Conversations with a human being: nilch

Conversations with castrated cat: 3

 

 

Day -83 to submission

I bow down before anyone who has completed any academic study as a parent who has no nanny and housekeeper. I took a few days off thesis writing and am on this very cold morning struggling to get back into it.

I’ve dragged my bar heater into the room and it’s right next to me.

I have 5 days to write this next chapter. I am not going to push myself to do more than the one. I will still be on schedule if I submit this one on Monday and the next one the following one (as opposed to two this Monday and then a fortnight for the next one). As I restructured it slightly, I have an extra chapter to write.

I think I need a very strong coffee before I begin writing again. I’ve spent the first hour distracted by house chores, checking emails and sorting out everyone’s life – including my cats. It’s been a lot easier with husband back as I don’t have to do the school run for another week or so. In theory, I have 12 days of all day writing but in practice I won’t be able to sustain that. I need breaks, walks and fresh air.

Here is the plan for this chapter and today:

  1. Write an outline – although it is in its draft form, it’s a mess. I need to put it all together properly.
  2. Run it through Grammarly and then do a close edit. Grammarly picks up typos. I make many and it picks up some grammar points. What I don’t like about it is that it makes some sentences too clean and the algorithms are not necessarily programmed for academic writing at this level. Nonetheless, it saves me time. I remember being so envious that a fellow postgrad’s mother was literate and educated enough to discuss nor edit her work. Mine can’t speak English properly so Grammarly fulfils half of this role.
  3. DON’T FREAK OUT and remind self that those who reach their goal have grit like the tortoise in the tortoise and hare race. I’ve found all these great resources to help students and own kid to have their best chance of reaching their potential, I really need to help myself now. It is deeply unsatisfying not being a jack of all trades and mediocre at most things when you know it’s through lack of effort. Process is way more important than the end result. I just have to get back into it.
  4. Stop comparing myself to others –  I did not read through early drafts. They were probably really messy too.

Coffee and then writing.

Apologies to all who read this for not being in contact, or only sporadically, over the next 6-8 weeks. If you text me I will respond, but I’m not as available until after this is done and dusted.

 

Day 0/ Day -70

It’s 2am.

Thank goodness I get to sleep in tomorrow.

I spent the last few hours putting together everything I have of my dissertation. I’m panicking. I really don’t know how I’m going to manage finishing this in the next 70 days. 50% is almost at final draft stage. The rest? Boy….I’m going to need a lot of time to focus and reference accurately. I’m with Socrates on this one. Writing makes you forget more.  I’m middle aged. I can’t stay up till all hours writing. I need sleep because I have to drive on 100kmph roads every morning. Well not tomorrow morning.

I made plans to go on a mini road trip to the country with a friend. I made 6 play dates for my son and I have to be at them. I guess I can ask a friend to take him one of those days and you know what, who cares about swimming. I should have suspended those damn lessons.

I did however just do what my supervisor said and sent her whatever it was that I had. I know what I have to do, but for some reason I just can’t seem to get started until the procrastination monkey starts screaming in pain.

The Panic Monster is dormant most of the time, but he suddenly wakes up when a deadline gets too close or when there’s danger of public embarrassment, a career disaster, or some other scary consequence.

But can good things come out of procrastination?

I think so. This whole rusty orchestra pursuit was born out of procrastination, as was my decision last term to take on an extra class, as was the Cousera intro course I took on Game Theory, as was several trips to a distant op shop, as was this morning’s brunch with a friend. Didn’t John Lennon say that “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans?”

Who am I kidding. I need to just cauterise the thesis in 70 days. It’s not a PhD. I don’t need to come up with a new theory. I just need to show that I understand the theoretical framework I’m using and can reference.

“Those who can’t…..”

Must sleep.

I feel terrible submitting such a scrappy draft.  This is low stakes in that it’s not a matter of life and death, but high in terms of “EVERYTHING IS ON-LINE THESE DAYS!!!!” In the old days, you could write a mediocre thesis and it would not see the light of day.

Breathe….