Mascot for #DevilDiss

Mascot for #DevilDiss
Mascot for #DevilDiss

Saturday, August 1, 2015

First draft of #DevilDiss complete

This was a busy and important week in #DevilDiss land.
It was a bit of a crunch, as I have a pre-semester job market prep class starting Monday so this was my last week to work on the dissertation full time. I had set today (1 August) as my personal deadline to get a draft of the second half of the dissertation to my director, so this week I had to print out chapters one through six, and revise chapters four through six to send off to her.

For the record, this is what a first draft of the dissertation looks like.
I certainly feel better about the second half of the dissertation than I did the first. I think in part because the first half is mostly a survey of almost a thousand years of the English folkloric devil in popular literature, and that's a lot of heavy lifting for three chapters to do. I also struggled in the survey chapters with making an argument, seeing a throughline. So there's a lot of rough- he's in this, and does this, and this reflects THIS historical event.
I printed the chapters out Tuesday, and sat down to start revising chapters 4-6 (Shakespeare, pamphlets and Milton). Going in I felt good, because I'd done a first pass on the Milton chapter in June to submit a version of it to a journal, had spent a lot of time working on the pamphlet chapter, and the Shakespeare chapter was in conference presentation form so I had a good base.

Yeah, no. I started panicking on Wednesday when I realized how much revision these chapters needed. Not that they were bad, but more that there were connections to other arguments in the dissertation that I needed to make, and throughlines I needed to connect. The pamphlet chapter also had a lot of instances of me just summarizing other scholars that lent nothing to my argument so I needed to cut those. A note of chapters one through three from my director was also that I was using my subtopic headings as lazy narrative, counting on the headings to do the work when I really needed to focus on signposting those arguments within the work, so there was a lot of that work to do. This was all good work, necessary work, it just was more time consuming than I thought and I started to be worried about meeting my deadline of having it all finished today.
While I understand this was my deadline, no one else's, and therefore a little arbitrary, it was still important that I meet it. For one, today and tomorrow are my last day's of summer, so there was that. Monday I start classes for two weeks, half day, and then I start teaching my classes right after that. I also wanted to have this done so I can start this week on revising chapters one through three based on the notes I received from my director. I'm aiming at revising one chapter per week, which I think is reasonable, even with classes starting, and the heavy revisions these chapters need. That means I shouldn't have any issues with completing all revisions on the first half of the dissertation by the end of August.
That leaves September to focus on prepping job market materials, and apply for jobs. I also still need to revise the prospectus into and intro and write a conclusion, but having drafted the whole thing I'm not worried about that.
My director said I'd probably have notes on the second half of the dissertation in October, probably near the end, so once applications are already due, so I'll spend November focusing on those revisions. I don't know when I'll have notes back on the second round of revisions for chapters one through three but imagine we'll touch based about that later in the fall.

At this point that's as far as I can plan because I have no way of knowing where the cycle of revisions will be past that. One of the reasons I was so focused on revising chapters four through six more tightly was because I'd really like to cut down on the number of revision cycles. Because I'd still really like to be able to defend before the timing of campus visits, which is early.
I don't know if I'll hit that goal. We'll just have to wait and see.

I also this week renamed chapters two and three but may continue to mess with them. The up to date table of contents for the dissertation is here if you're interested, with hyperlinks to the chapters.

So I'm done.
Not really.
That would be some hoodoo magic shit right there.
But having a complete draft of the dissertation feels like a milestone, so I'm going to go with that. I know a lot of people don't get this far, so I'm taking the win. I think I've done a lot in a year, and while I know that there may be a lot (A LOT A LOT) of revising in my future, I've always though revising was easy once you had something. And so far even though chapters one through three need a lot of revision, my director and I seem to be on the same wavelength about that, and understanding notes so I am once again incredibly grateful for my director.

On a personal note...
So I'm taking today and tomorrow, to try and take a mental break from this, despite the fact that last night I had to hospitalize Nehi because she ate two rocks. And we spent three hours in emergency care before they sent me home around midnight, keeping her to give her fluids. Which didn't work. So the doctor called me at 430a telling me we had to go with surgery. Which they had to put off because they had critical cases come in, and as of 1050a, they still had not rescheduled.
So the irony that on the day I could really use the distraction of work, I flew through revisions.
I will attempt to keep busy, but will probably just end up dicking around on the Internet, because I can't really focus.
I would like the surgery to be over, and successful and be on the other side of it because I'm a worrier and things I can't control make me batshit crazy. Especially where my bebe is concerned.
So send the boo book good juju.

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