Mascot for #DevilDiss

Mascot for #DevilDiss
Mascot for #DevilDiss

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The End of the First Round of Revisions CH 1-3 of #DevilDiss

Chapter one of #DevilDiss has been kicking my ass all week. In part because having a complete draft I now see all the little seeds I have to plant in this first chapter, and in part because I had great notes from Speculum readers that meant completely rethinking parts.
I also realized early in the week that I needed to completely reorganize the chapter.

So while it's all GOOD work it's been really HARD work this week.

I'm also struggling with some general end of dissertation issues.
  • I don't have a defense date, as it depends on the revisions on this first half of the dissertation. Right now it's probably summer, with the recommendation to take more time than that. I really need it to be spring. Mainly because I can't afford another year of taking out $10-15,000 in student loans to cover what the TA ship doesn't, but also because I'm really struggling with the idea that my writing is so shitty I can't revise a complete draft in less than a year. Plus I'm 40 in February and I'm kind of ready to go back to being an adult with a salary, benefits, and an adult life.
  • I'm applying for fellowships, as back up plans.
  • I'm checking out changing my teaching license from NC as a back up plan.
  • I'm wondering if I have the energy for back up plans.
But this past week has been a whole lot of feeling like this:
 One advantage to just finishing the second week of class though is that students don't quite feel comfortable coming to office hours yet so I had additional time to work on revisions this week.
I managed yesterday to finish all of my handwritten notes on chapter one, except the conclusion. I wanted to finish it ALL but by 530p I'd been working since I got up so I called it quits due to brain fry. Plus, as you can see, I wasn't kidding when I said chapter one needed a lot of work.

So I finished writing the conclusion this morning. This is where my notebook continues to come in handy. I jot notes as I revise, color code Post-Its for sections and so far it's made writing the conclusion, and making those big picture statements, easy.

Then it was just a matter this morning of typing it all up. I was telling someone on Twitter today that for me this is the easy part because I've done all the heavy lifting in the handwritten revision notes, so these days really are just mindless typing, and cutting and pasting as I reorganize.
I've printed it out, and I still have to copyedit it and add footnote and some other secondary sources.
But other than that, I feel comfortable that I'll be able to send this off meeting my end of August deadline.
So that will mean the first of round of revisions on CH 1-3 of #DevilDiss are done and off to the director.

Just as finishing a complete draft felt like a big milestone, so does this. I feel like I addressed all the notes I was given, worked to join the chapters together, and really improved them.

I've reordered the white board for entering the next phase, editing CH 4 and 5 which I got notes from this past week.
But I don't know. Because I felt really good about the second half of the dissertation. I really felt like it was a huge improvement over the first half which I knew was stupidly rough but needed fresh eyes before I could improve it. I thought I made connections, and had good sources. And that was not the case. While the notes are fewer than what I had on the first half, there's still a lot of "complete rethink this" type notes.
And I'm not sure what to do with that. Because today I *feel* good about my CH 1-3 revisions, but I felt good about CH 4-6, so now I don't necessarily trust how I feel about my writing. Which I know in part is what my director and committee are for.

But not trusting how I feel about my writing is translating into not trusting sending chapters to the committee for job market purposes, and not trusting cutting down some of these chapters for writing samples.
And a whole lot of just not trusting anything at this point.
And it also means that I'm not having a lot of confidence in anything else at this point, which makes me nervous about the job market.
As soon as chapter one is copyedited and finished, I'll send it off (by Monday).
I'll spend this week revising chapter four.
I'll spend next week revising chapter five.
I don't have chapter six notes yet, but if I get them between now and then they'll be in the next week.
That means that I will have turned around a complete revision in seven weeks. My deadline for the revisions of the second half is mid-September so committee members can have the most up-to-date rough (but not approved) drafts to inform their letter writing. And I really hope that kind of work ethic counts for something, but more, I want, I need these revisions to be a huge improvement so I can have a defense date.

I figure that's all I can do. All I control is what I do with the notes once I get them, so I'm just staying focused on turning revisions around as quickly as I can and still serve the work.
I certainly thought chapter one was going to be an easy revision because I worked on in a seminar this past spring, and felt really good about it. But Speculum notes, and director notes, and my own distance of a few months meant that it wasn't close to done. So rather than rushing through notes at the beginning of this week and being done, it took twice that to get it where I was happy.
But even now I don't trust that feeling.
But I can't do anything about that.
So I'm going to walk Nehi, who is not happy that another day was spent with me working and her ignored.
I will get up tomorrow and grade the student papers I neglected today, and lesson plan for the week, which I also neglected today because I needed to get these revisions done.
Then with some fresher eyes I'll copyedit, add the footnotey stuff, and secondary sources and hope it's good, and send it off.
Here's hoping each step in the revision process shows major improvement.

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