Thursday, May 30, 2013

Welcome to a New Start for Dianna!

... And so the hardest month of my life is about to start!  After meeting with the fabulous Dr M yesterday (my graduate adviser and mentor) in Carbondale, I am now ready to use the next four weeks to completely 100% kick the ass out of my dissertation revisions.  My goal is to be done with several chapters before leaving for Scotland on July 4 (we return at the end of July).
Let me back up a little first.

There is no doubt that this past semester (maybe even the entire 2012-2013 school year) in was a hard one for me.  I spent Fall semester basically writing the entire dissertation, finishing just before Christmas.  I admit that I was pretty exhausted when I started the Spring semester in January.  I had been so wrapped up in dissertation writing that I didn't get the chance to simply relax and enjoy a few days off.  Instead, I was tense and I started the new semester tense.  I ended up teaching 7 classes this past semester (most of them writing based) and I was just simply overwhelmed by everything on my plate (especially when you throw in some difficult students).  I had been hoping so badly that I could graduate in May so when I realized in late Feb and early March that wasn't going to happen ... well, I bonked.  I simply got a bit depressed about this whole situation and decided to ignore my dissertation.  And that wasn't a very smart thing to do because now I feel like I am doing double duty trying to catch up with where I was.   But there is hope!  My conversation with the amazing Dr M yesterday made me realize that I am pretty sure that darn dissertation is STILL in me.  I just need to take the time to tease it out (and keep in mind that I have written a lot so I am talking about rearranging too).

So here is my goal -- and the reason for this entry this morning:

I know that I write better when I am writing and blogging.  So my goal for June is to do just that.  For each work day I will start by blogging and then I will jump to dissertation writing and rewriting.  Here are the basic chapters to my dissertation as it stands at the moment (and if you know anything about dissertations, you will recognize that this is pretty standard stuff):

Chapter 1:  Introduction
Chapter 2:  Literature Review
Chapter 3:  Methodology
Chapter 4:  Results
Chapter 5:  Analysis
Chapter 6:  Conclusion

I have complete chapters already written for each section but .... they need some work.  Chapter 2 is pretty much done and laid to rest.  The three chapters I will be working on for this next month are 3, 4, and 5.  If I have extra time by the end of the month, I am hoping to give some love to my introduction and conclusions but for now, I will just focus on those three chapters.  And to break it down even further, I will work on Chapter 3 for the next week (which is pretty do-able, I think) and then focus on Chapter 4 next week.  For anyone reading this, please feel free to pester me with "So how is Chapter 3 going?"

I do have one more comment to make here.  I made a realization yesterday while talking with Dr M that was an important one for me.  I used to be the sort of person who worked through problems when they came along in writing and thinking.  But somehow, I slowed down with that skill and when things get hard, I don't always see that as an invitation to jump back into the problem and work it out.  Instead, I get distracted and "reward" myself with something that keeps me from focusing on the problem or difficulty.  I am going to work hard at getting beyond that.  Taking Dr M's advice, every time I stumble on something difficult, I am going to use that as an opportunity to grow as a writer and thinker and force myself to work 30 more minutes before stopping,  Then I can take a break and see where I need to go after that.

So that's it.  I have four weeks to work on this darn thing.  I will finish and graduate in December.