Mascot for #DevilDiss

Mascot for #DevilDiss
Mascot for #DevilDiss

Saturday, August 15, 2015

First #DevilDiss Chapter Revisions

The last two weeks I have juggled attending the job seeker's workshop with working on #DevilDiss revisions. The workshop was really helpful, and it was great to have another set of eyes on stuff, but it was a weird schedule to be on right before the semester.
And it certainly impacted my revision schedule.

I finished handwritten notes on chapter two earlier this week. Then I just needed to go back through and add secondary sources, mostly footnote stuff. The good part about this was I had the articles and books already annotated, so I just had to go through the pile of stuff. This also meant I was able to prioritize my filing box to only include current revision drafts and the secondary sources I put in the chapter went into the box.
Because I used part of chapter two in my writing sample, I also got additional notes on it from the job seeker's workshop. One of which was a great book on England post Norman Conquest (Elaine Treharne's Living Through Conquest) which I ordered, and added yesterday and today. It was a great piece to really help me situate and bridge the historical introduction I had in my chapter with the analysis.

I know this revised chapter is a huge improvement over the first. Part of that is because having finished a complete draft I am in a better place to put in throughlines and understand how the dissertation works as a whole. The notes I got were incredibly helpful. And I spent a lot of time of this.
But I'm still nervous. Because there's a lot riding on this.
In order to make a spring/summer defense with a 2-3 month turn around on drafts the only way I can make that deadline is to cut down on the number of revision cycles necessary. So this draft needs to be really close to done. And that's a lot of pressure. I've also always had issues with copyediting, stemming from always missing grammar instruction with constantly moving in middle school. And the advice of "find a friend" doesn't work because I don't have any. I don't have a writing group who will read my drafts and give me input. I'm doing this alone. So chalk that up to something else that is hard when doing this alone with no support network.

So I feel good about the chapter 2 revised draft.
And I sent it off to my director.
Except I also feel like I have two voices in my head- one that tells me that the draft is good, and it's a big jump in improvement. The other one tells me it's full of errors, and I'm going to get negative feedback on its condition. And that will push my defense and that will impact my job chances and that impacts my whole life.
I'm learning it's really easy to spiral out of control at this point.

But let's try to regain our zen- the revision is done, it's sent off, it's time to move on.


So this semester I only teach Tuesday and Thursday so Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are dedicated #DevilDiss days. This week I need to revise chapter 3, the personality and actions of the devil in medieval and early modern popular literature.
I have about the same amount of notes to address, and some of the same goals as chapter 2:
  • pull the Milton framing out
  • make sure that the title is mentioned in opening as a focus on important ideas
  • add explanation/emphasis on "fracturing" of folk that I revisit later in the Milton chapter
  • Resituate some of the discussions about the seven deadly sins and how this relates to the devil
  • same note as for chapter 2, I need to interact more with secondary sources and add footnotes that demonstrate the breadth and depth of my reading
My goal is to finish these revisions this week.

On a separate but related note, this was a hard week personally.
I don't understand people who are passive aggressive, or not nice, or don't seem to understand why I'm privileging dissertation revisions over everything else.
I think only being on campus twice a week to teach will help me stay focused on finishing the revisions, and keep in mind what is important. I just need to remind myself to #AlwaysBeToby


I'm really worried about the job market. Which I imagine is natural. I'm worried two out of my three committee members that are here at UNM are not here this year. And the third has taken on extra duties. I'm worried about having one on one advising this semester with job questions. I'm worried I don't have a face to face support network for this really hard year.
I'm worried that the job market and finishing the dissertation seems guided by rules of privilege that I know nothing about as a first generation college student who is maybe a millimeter above white trash.
I'm worried that this is another whole set of things that are going to be infinitely harder because I'm on my own.
Although I have to tell you that I am incredibly grateful to my Twitter support network who the last week has encouraged my blogging here, taught me how to clean up my leather bag for interviews, and looked at job market materials.

I am trying to focus on positives.
I have most of my job market materials done. I have some revisions to make to my research statement, but I'm waiting to revise writing samples until the chapters are approved, figuring there's no reason to do it piecemeal.
There have been a couple of fun job ads that while I understand not getting excited about, would still be cool.
Classes start Tuesday, and I'm excited about both classes I'm teaching.
Nehi is recovering well from her surgery.

So I'm trying to stay focused on the tangible- my deadlines and timelines for revisions. The progress I've made on job market stuff. The ads so far that I can apply for.
Onwards and upwards...

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