Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Um, so, yeah, what about that dissertation?

I have a bad habit of waiting to share news... I keep thinking that I'll wait until "X" happens, and then I'll really have something to tell. So while I have not yet reached the ultimate "I turned it in!" moment, I thought it was time for an update.

This feels like death (or life?) by a thousand small revisions. I sent an almost-complete draft, minus the conclusion, to my advisor around the first of the month. She gave it the thumbs-up and said that I should distribute the whole thing to my committee when it's ready. So that's good.

The not-so-good part is that I just can't quite seem to work on it! I know that the deadline will eventually be upon me (I should mail it around the 16th or so) and I know that I'll need a day or so for getting it copied and into boxes and into the mail (why does snail mail seem so annoying?) and I know that I don't have that much to do, but still.... ugh! argh! ack. I think the fridge needs to be cleaned out... and what about that laundry?

Okay, perhaps it is time for a blog-style reality check. I've still got teaching and some overdue grading. I'll be out of town from Thursday evening to Sunday evening and won't have much chance to work while I'm gone. So with that in mind, I need to fit in the following tasks:

*Revise the conclusion. It is written and has passed the initial review (the totally new second draft, that is) of my husband/editor. It also needs one final paragraph with some oomph. I figure that I'll end up revising the conclusion after discussions during the defense, so my motivation to make it absolutely perfect is low.
* Clean up the debris that must have resulted from a minor reorganization. My dissertation is about one single topic over a limited amount of years, so my chapters are not in a clear chronological order. Rather, I think of them as spokes on a wheel. My husband/editor and advisor both think that Chapter 4 should be moved up to become Chapter 2, with the rest of the chapters re-numbered as a result. I agreed, since Chapter 4 had always seemed out of place. Since each chapter really stands alone, it won't require that much work, but still... I need to read the beginning and end of each chapter and make sure they flow into each other. It's really strange, though, to adjust to this. My idea of "Chapter 4" has been "Chapter 4" for many, many years... and now it is Chapter 2? I'll have to devote some time to memorizing which chapter is which!
* Make an organizational chart. (Thanks to kj for earlier suggestions about that.)
* Finish checking the footnotes with a fine-toothed comb. I've already done 4 out of the 6 major components, Turabian in hand.
* Track down 3-5 small detail-oriented factual questions somewhere in my pile of documents.
* Merge the whole thing into one document and make the page numbers work.

And I really do think That. Is. It. I thought making a list would stress me out enough so as to make me put my nose to the grindstone, but actually it makes me pretty excited. I mean, if I do these things on this relatively small list of tasks, I'll be done!!! And if that isn't enough motivation to get me to work on it, nothing is....


At 10:07 AM, Blogger KJ said...

If you have a sketch of your organizational chart, you can fax it to me and I can make it on the computer

At 12:08 PM, Blogger timna said...

so have you done it?
sometimes that pagination and printing takes a messy amount of time (hours slipped by for me), but there's considerable satisfaction at this stage!

At 12:34 PM, Anonymous zelda said...

sounds good - good luck!

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