Mascot for #DevilDiss

Mascot for #DevilDiss
Mascot for #DevilDiss

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Halfway Point on #DevilDiss

Yesterday was a big day.

I had ambitious goals for May. The first week was finals week and I really thought I'd be submitting a methodology/intro/how-to-read my dissertation write up and the first three chapters to my dissertation director.
Yeah, that didn't happen. For a couple of reasons. She told me that she wouldn't get to it until June because of her own personal and professional obligations. And that was liberating, because it meant I could collapse after this past year, take some time to be a slug on the couch, binge watch iZombie, decide I liked the idea f Penny Dreadful better than the actual show, and revisit those three chapters.

Which was good, because it turns out chapter three needed A LOT more work than I remembered/thought. But that's one of the nice things about scheduling writing so you can set things aside and come back to them later.

But I had other roadblocks. I had a hard time finding the motivation to sit down and complete the mind-numbing task of converting chapter one from Chicago to MLA. I realized I didn't address the seven deadly sins, so I had a whole section on that I had to write.

In general I had a hard time finding my motivation.
I had part of this problem last summer, though I don't remember it as bad, but that could just be me not remembering.
I had a hard time doing anything the first couple of weeks after break.
The "To Do" list I had set for myself (last summer it was studying for comps) seemed insurmountable. I was paralyzed. I sat on the couch and just zoned out to the television. I had a hard time shifting gears to reading "regular" books again.
I think in part this has to do with just shutting down after the busy year.
But then this week, perhaps because I realized that June was next week and my director's extension was looming, I found my mojo.
And as always happens, the things I was putting off for whatever reasons, are easily done once I, you know, sit down and actually DO them.
So, chapter three got finished.
Chapter one got converted from Chicago to MLA.
Chapter two had missing bits added.
I'm not saying it's great. I know after a year of working on these chapters, I'm probably too deep in my own head, and I can guarantee that my director will have a TON of notes. But revision is easy. The fact is, the first half of my dissertation is done, and sent off.

And that's a big deal. Not only am I past the halfway point, but that's 148 pages in.
Today is a library day and I have a beginning list of books to get for chapter five, my chapter on the use of the devil in polemics and pamphlets during the 16th and 17th century. I decided to work on this chapter next, the only one I haven't done any prep for, because after a year of working on these same topics and chapters, I wanted something fresh, something new.

The three chapters I submitted are the first half of the book, and there's a natural break- they are the survey/history/background chapters. The second half of the book builds on this and talks about the function of these elements. So I also have a better idea of how this second half will function.
After the pamphlet chapter, I have to expand chapter four, the absence of the devils in Shakespeare, from conference paper to chapter. My director said that she'd get my notes on my Milton chapter sometime in the next couple of weeks. So I'll need to fix those notes and add the Paradise Regained  and Samson Agonistes connections.

Once it's all done, I'll write the conclusion, and expand the introduction.
I'm aiming to have the second half to my director by August.
My director has said I can expect notes on the first half around the end of June. So I'll work on those revisions while she's reading the second half.

So far, I'm on my schedule I need to be.

While I know the revisions will be a lot of work, I only have one class I have to do work for (my third, fluency class for Old English, translating Beowulf, and I'm doing that this summer since I have the time- 300 lines/week). So revisions and teaching will be the only things I'm doing.

I'm still hoping that my director will feel comfortable recommending/approving me for being on the job market this fall.
I'm taking a pre-semester/August job seekers workshop, and I already have solid templates of all my materials from last year, so I feel good about that.

I have a couple of other projects to work on. I have a folklore article that I was asked to revise and resubmit, so next week I'll do that and send it off (and hopefully be able to add something else by job applications to my publishing list, it would make my 6th publication).
I also have a "fun" project about dime novel cover art demonizing Others and relating it to comic books that I'm looking forward to.

So that's my update- past the halfway point and trucking forward.

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