Monday, March 10, 2008

A February in Review: To wit, Where the FUCK Did It Go?

Last night, as I was semi-straightening a pile so that I could find things during the next day of revision, my eye glanced upon my big list ---- not the day-to-day to do list, but the Big List, the one enumerating everything I need to get done and every stupid little hoop I need to jump through to graduate in spring as well as conference info. What caught my eye was the line that said I would turn in a draft of chapter 4 "in two weeks (Feb 8???)."

I stared with a sense of slowly-dawning horror as my brain gradually figured out what day it was, then what month it was (you'd think teaching would have me more on top of things, but no) and finally to the hysterical moment of recognition that this deadline was more than a month ago and if I weren't careful, the quarter would end, leaving me with less than a quarter to write another entire chapter from scratch.

Oh, Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck!

Well, crap. Plans must be changed. Noses must be pressed to the grindstone and work habits kicked up into a higher gear. Because I've gotta do this and get this done in time; not graduating on time is not an option and so I need to channel all this hyperventilating into some laser-focused productivity.

So today I worked off and on all day, forcing myself to take a short break and then turn back to pounding some of these recalcitrant paragraphs into submission ---- how can I keep this paragraph from swerving off topic here? What exactly do I need to say to tie it back to my main argument? ---- I don't know! This is hard! Waaaahh! I can't see how to fix this instantly! ---- Just shut up and focus, girl; start freewriting until you come up with a bridge that will bring this back on topic ---- But I don't know, I don't know! I don't --- ooh, hey, that's a pretty good idea...

And so it went on through most of the day, not with fast progress, but there was progress. Unfortunately, I have a lot more to do on this load of crap before it resembles a rough-but- readable chapter draft for my advisor. So, for accountability and general turning up of the heat, here's my list of Stuff that Has to Happen:
  1. write intro
  2. insert historical refs on page 3 (three spots)
  3. tie swerve off topic to main point on page 8 (3 spots)
  4. streamline/chop long P on page 9
  5. fix center ---- paste in end of pt 1 and finish resoundingly (a big job, requires actual thinking) (Waaah!) (Shut up!)
  6. cut or fix the framing comments at beginning and end of pt 2
  7. fix end/conclusion of chapter
  8. footnotes are a mess!
As you might notice, basically the beginning, middle and end of my chapter all suck. But trust me, there are large stretches of "between" parts that only suck very slightly! I promise!

Now, I'm going to go back and pick at some of this stuff tonight and work like a devil as much as I can tomorrow (around teaching stuff) but I don't realistically see all of this getting concluded by the end of tomorrow. If that's the case, I may as well just keep working on this stuff until Thursday since advisor doesn't come on campus until then. We will try not to think of the evilness of dumping a hasty and rough draft of a chapter on our advisor on the very last day of the quarter, when advisor is sure to be getting grad seminar papers and undergrad work and preparing for someone's prospectus exam and might not appreciate the extra work coming right at the beginning of spring break, no we will not. I need it off my plate and in advisor's hands, because I need to grade a cubic fuckload of bad student papers and then finals before cranking through my last chapter. (Aaaaaaah!) (Stop it! No spring break for you, you lazy ass!) (Sniffle.) (Cheer up, me. Stop hyperventilating and stop doing the big-teary-eye -and-trembly-lower-lip thing. Want some ice cream?) (Uh-huh. Sniffle.) (Ok, let's go get some ice cream. Don't forget to bring that chapter section with you.)



Dr. Brainiac said...

Easy to get distracted what with visions of doctoral regalia dancing through your head. You can do it. Just remember, you're the little cog that could.

Maude said...

yes, you can do it! if i can do it, you can too! although i suspect you're working with stuff way harder than i am, i also suspect you're way smarter than i am, too, so it totally evens out.

right now, i'm shooting for my G.E.D.--my "good enough dissertation," especially since the "big angry thing" has left me with a bitter taste in my mouth (the scholarly dissertation award went to a fucking poet! yes, i've been secretly stewing over the same thing as earnest), i don't even care enough anymore to make it great right now. i'll save it for my book revisions where hopefully it will count more.

that may be bad advice, but shit, i hear you on not graduating as NOT being an option.

do what you can do. you're brilliant, sis. i know this. i'm rooting for you! turn in what you have and move on. you can do it! go, sis, go!!

Maude said...

p.s. if we both either make it out, that is graduate this spring, or at least defend by ALA, we will have a wild night of drinking celebration for it at ALA. i'm sure we'll do this anyway, i hope :-), but let's set a "real" celebration goal!

Sisyphus said...

Heh, wish me luck everyone!

Maude, unfortunately, between the fact that I'm on the quarter system and my dept. doing our defenses at the beginning of the diss, means I'm not going to even have my ceremony until late June. But I need to have the drafts out before I can write the ALA paper! Aiggggh! Run for the hills!

Maude said...

well, close enough. i still see celebrations in our future at ALA.

i can't even think about the ALA paper right now. you're more on the ball than me!

good luck!!

Belle said...

Write, write, write... review, revise, sleep.

And keep that ice cream handy.

kermitthefrog said...

Good luck! And awesome formatting.