Friday, November 28, 2014

The End is Nigh

No, okay, the apocalypse isn't coming. Well, at least not to me. In my novel it's already been and gone and humanity is dealing with the utopian aftermath. But in real life, 'apocalypse' is a nice turn of phrase that we rather overuse. After all, December 2012 passed without any adverse effects, despite dire predictions to the contrary because people don't understand Mayan cultural history.

But I digress. I've been doing a lot of that these days, because - like a five year old who's grown up on technology - I do in fact have no attention span whatsoever. Even writing a blog post takes more concentration than I can typically expend. This is, unfortunately, normal in the final months of a PhD. That doesn't, however, make it easier to live with. I am quite proud of my ability to focus on one thing for - literally - days on end, but even the things I used to expend vast amounts of time on last me about five minutes now.

So no, the apocalypse is not coming, but the end is - thankfully - nigh. And that's a blessing, because the inability to focus is a frustration and only adds to the stress I'm already experiencing as being about to submit. It makes editing hard. It makes watching television hard. It makes meetings next to impossible. I lose track and focus from one minute to the next and honestly forget what I was about to say half way through a sentence. It's not particularly fun, living this way. But the end is nigh and - I can hope - it does get better afterwards.

If you have read the above three paragraphs, you have all the proof I need of my lack of focus. The overall theme may be the same, and we might end where we began, but even those 19 sentences skip around, backtrack, repeat and sometimes make little to no sense even to me.

Though, if they do make sense to you, that's proof I'm suffering from problems other than just a lack of focus, so please let me know.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hello and Welcome...

...To my nest of insanity, that is.

There are certain things that would be inadvisable to do in the last month before you submit your doctoral thesis. The first would be to go on holiday (that comes after). The second would be to suddenly quit (awfully late for all the work you've put into it).

And the third? The third would be to sign up to National Novel Writing Month with a goal of 50,000 words.

Naturally, I did option three, because I'm a masochist, an idiot, overambitious and any other negative comment you want to send my way. It's okay, I know how stupid I am. But it's done and there is no undoing it now.

The upshot is that the novel that was supposed to be written over the winter can now be edited over the winter, so I might actually be able to query it next year along with Amoron. I'm not sure it's advisable to query two novels at once, but since I don't like to either be normal or to do advisable things, I guess I can try.

In other news I submitted my final draft of the thesis to the second supervisor, who has to sign off on it from an internal examiner point of view before I can submit to the university. I am therefore just crossing my fingers and praying/wishes/hoping/fretting that he doesn't come back next week with major corrections, because I only have until the 24th to do them! And write a novel!

And hang myself because I'm an idiot.

In regards to finally getting the draft done, it feels anti-climatic. I have, unfortunately, now been told this is normal and will be what the next few months of my life feel like. That's not exactly great to hear, so I apologise for sharing. It appears that most of the stress and climactic feelings of misery leave you behind at this point (if you submit on time) and don't really give way to anything other than 'well, okay, what to I do now?' until the viva which (if you pass) leads to more anti-climactic feelings of 'right, so I can get on with my life now?'

This isn't exactly the happy exciting relief-filled time I was planning on. However, in a strange way, it solidifies what I thought post-submission is like, which is basically a month of being unable to do anything because you are exhausted and have no ability to focus. It's like a four year old who's watched too much telly growing up. Exciting times.

But this is a really strange part of the process, and not one anyone really talks about. They talk about after submission. They talk about those last months of writing up misery. But the part between those two? Not so much. I really have no idea what to even attempt to do with myself, except take my supervisor's advise yesterday (which was: 'enjoy the three day conference and spend some time with your friends'). So, I am enjoying the conference, and planning time with friends.

And I went shopping. And I'm trying to catch my already-behind-word-count for NaNo.

Further up and further in. Winter is coming.