Thesis writing: the most vicious of circles.

I haven’t blogged, or read the blogs of people I follow for so long, so I thought I’d just pootle by and drop a thought or two.

My time recently has been consumed by a big life change including house moving and the reconsideration of my employment prospects, but all of that has had to go on the back-burner now, because it’s time to really start to write my dissertation.

I find myself engaging in this ridiculous and rabid circle of events daily. This is the sort of psychological process that has accompanied almost every essay or piece of written work that I’ve ever composed, but because this is my Master’s thesis and it’s the first time I’ve ever done my own primary research and real life has got massively in my way and waylaid the writing process, it seems amplified tenfold.

So my days currently look something like this:

8am: Wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day

9am: Around two hours of wonderful, optimistic productivity and a reasonable increase in word count.

11am: DISTRACTION! THE INTERNET! Something shiny! Facebook. TWITTER!

12pm: Guilt guilt guilt.

1pm: Lunch.

1.30pm: I KNOW! I’ll look for jobs so that I don’t end up having all my belongings repossessed when I fail to repay my ridiculous loan after graduation.

3pm: Utter despair and demotivation: there are no exciting jobs and I have no idea what I’m doing with my life.

3.30pm: BUGGER! Dissertation. Why aren’t I writing my dissertation?

4pm: Every word is agony…

5pm: Clearly it is time for dinner and the company of other human beings.

7pm+: Panic writing and low productivity.

At times this vicious circle amuses me and I recognise that this is the sort of battle that any academic engages in when grappling with their research, but at others I think this can’t be right, other people wouldn’t be stupid enough to put themselves through this – I must just not be cut out for this.

So I wonder, does anyone else have a similar vicious circle that they engage in when dealing with their own work? Any tips or advice? Just want to rant about your own writing process? I’m all ears!

Almost 12pm… time for a bit of guiltguiltguilt.

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9 thoughts on “Thesis writing: the most vicious of circles.

  1. You have to ask your self who you are and how studying archeology is helping you to be more productive in ways other majors can’t.. When you remember the reason why you’re doing this you’ll be able to set a clear goal and a good method in writing.. Take a day off.. Go out and have a walk alone to get your thoughts together.. Hope this helps

  2. I got up at 4:00 AM every day, wrote hard until 8:00 AM, then read or did whatever I for the rest of the day (making figures, tables and such) so I could get up and write productively for four hours at 4:00 AM the next morning.

    Or Plan B is another bit of advice I got was to write 2 pages a day everyday on my diss. Even if I through away half of it as drivel, I would still have a good bit meaningful work.

    • I quite like the idea of that… I’m such a deep sleeper that I don’t know if I could handle the early start though! And I would definitely agree with the setting a goal and meeting it, even if it’s utter crud!

      Thanks for commenting! :)

  3. this made me realise what bugs me about reading interviews with fiction writers that claim to show discipline in writing two or three hours every morning and do nothing the remainder of their days. If that’s considered discipline, then I think you’re doing not so bad. Wish I had the discipline.

    • I’m not sure if discipline is the word… I would say it’s something closer to blind panic! :P But yeah, I agree, academics do a hell of a lot of writing that I suspect goes unnoticed!

  4. I’m useless when it comes to time management so I doubt I have any useful advice to give, One thing that did help me (marginally) was shutting off my net connection whenever I really needed to work. It’s not helpful if you need the net to search for references or whatever but it does stop you from checking Facebook, Twitter, etc.

    Good luck with your dissertation!

    • Yeah, I do that when I know I won’t need access to the internet, but with a topic like mine, pretty much every source you look up is gonna be online! I often block myself from FB and Twitter etc as well, but the internet’s the internet, and there’s ALWAYS something to distract yourself!

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