Friday, July 11, 2014

It be Summer

I have 9000 words of a chapter due in 11 days, and I can't for the life of me really tell you what it's about. I know what it should be about. I know what it needs to be about. But at this point, it's become more about manipulating the data to fit the chapter, so that this chapter aligns with the next chapter (which I don't have to manipulate the data for). So it's forced. I hate forced writing.

I need to write 800-1000 words a day if I'm going to finish this on time (in order to start the next chapter that has a rather firm due date).

I have been using a segmentation writing style suggested to me by a palaeontologist. I know, that sounds weird. But it's working. It automatically separates everything down into 500-1000 words segments in the first place, which makes writing easier. It also requires that the entire chapter be outlined in detail (down to, you know,, for example) before writing commences, so you know what goes where. I'm not usually this scientific when I write, but it appears to be helping me organise my thoughts. I think it's not very historical, or even really social science-y, but it's working, so I'm going to keep doing it. Hopefully it won't pose too many difficulties when it comes time to finalising the whole thesis before submission (in 5 months - gods help me).

Right now (nearly wrote that as 'write' now - clearly the PhD is having an adverse brain effect), I just need to start writing, but I'm really rather afraid this chapter is going to be as hard as I think it will be, and therefore cause me a lot of grief to write. And grief isn't something I want to deal with, I'm sure you can understand. I don't want to be slamming my head into the desk time and again for the next 11 days.

But I must. I really, really must. I have a PhD writing buddy now, and we are trying to motivate each other to hit our daily word counts, and suffer through together. I think it's helping a bit. I'm a bit more motivated, at least.

Of course, booking a hiking trip to the Peaks when I finish this chapter should help too...