Writing a dissertation is harder than it sounds

I’ve mentioned how strange it is that I don’t have any travel scheduled in the immediate future, but also how this means that I have a rather large task ahead of me. After being in grad school (PhD version) nearly six years, there’s only One Big (school) Thing left for me to do: Write a Dissertation (granted, this One Big Things involves a bunch of Little Things along the way). I wrote the prospectus; collected more data than I ever imagined I could; and I’ve free-written about twenty pages on varying and vast topics related to Bloodshot Records.

I met with Advisor recently, and to the surprise of no one, she demanded we decided that I would write a draft of a chapter by the end of May. This is wholly reasonable and completely do-able. However, this Writing a Chapter thing means I’m officially tackling the Writing the Dissertation thing. However, I know I can’t think of it in quite that way… because the procrastinator in me says, “Hey, that’s a huge project. There’s no way you can do that today. You have plenty of time to do that later. You should go shopping instead.” Really. True story.

Athens, GA has plenty of lovely locations appropriate for writing time...

Athens, GA has plenty of lovely locations appropriate for writing time…

So to try and combat this, I’m blogging about it I’ve set aside three regular writing blocks in my week outside of my home (and yes, I know, I should be writing daily, but baby steps, OK?). The goal is to really treat these times as sacrosanct, and even if I’m not terribly productive during these times, at least I’ll know I’m thinking about my project on a regular basis. And also, I (hopefully) won’t feel (too) guilty all the rest of the time if/when I’m not writing/thinking about the project.

To date, my first few writing-a-chapter-writing-sessions have been less than productive, as I’ve spent a great deal of time waffling about which chapter and what content to tackle first (recall I made up some chapter projections in the prospectus). This is, of course, necessary work, but now it’s time to just write. Something. Anything. And then go from there.

We’ll see how this goes. I have a feeling there will be many posts here of me saying the same thing; that writing the dissertation or writing a chapter is hard. But even so, hopefully there will also be progress.


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