Work on my PhD has slowed to a mere trickle over the past week and a half. Partly I needed to give myself some days off. I’d been driving pretty hard since I moved to Cambridge. Spending time alternating between PhD work and some paid teaching work for the department. It all finally came to a head at my last supervision.
I sent an outline for my thesis to my supervisor a few days before we were due to meet. My thesis had changed rather drastically reflecting how much my thinking had changed over the past two months. It all began with an epiphany I had in the shower. It was sort of my Eureka Moment. I spent the rest of the month reading texts and articles on the Transtheoretical Model of Change and Transformative Learning Theory. I cobbled it all together into something that I thought made sense and added something new to my field (those are sort of the two major things you want your PhD thesis to do), and sent it off in an email.
At my supervision, we went through my outline. My supervisor couldn’t have been happier or more encouraging. I had it. I had my outline. It’s the seed that will become an 80,000 word behemoth. I returned home later that night. I felt like I had run a marathon or given birth or something. I was exhausted mentally and physically.
For the past week and a half my brain has rebelled at doing anything more strenuous than playing Overwatch. Every time I sat down to try to do some work, it just shut down. I finally decided to give into how I was feeling and allowed myself a week off. I never feel comfortable doing that. I always feel like I’m being lazy or a terrible person but sometimes, you just need to give yourself some time in order to do the best work you can. I’m incredibly lucky I can do that for myself.
So after a week of brain-vacation, I sat down this morning to craft a cunning plan. Armed with my thesis outline and my passion planner, I developed a writing plan which takes me to the end of 2017. I’ve broken everything down along my seven chapters plus a chapter I have to write for an upcoming book. Fitting it all into my timescale – that’s a little tricky. To be honest I think my plan is part fantasy. It relies on me experiencing no writer’s block and not having any holidays between 1 April and 10 December 2017. Let’s be real, even the most ardent masochist couldn’t keep to this schedule. It was less about sorting it all into dates and more about breaking it all down into easily digested chunks that my brain can deal with. I’ve definitely done that and I feel like I can get started and make progress. I can reassess after I reach each of my milestones and go from there.
The real question is, what do I do when this is all finished? And that’s a question I really have no brain left to answer. As for now…I’ve got to get writing!