…this is your brain on dissertation.

so i realized something today.

it’s not a grand revelation. in fact, if you’ve been around for about the last three weeks, you’ve probably realized it before i did today on the phone with my mom.

i have three main topics of conversation/focus right now: school/class, dissertation, and working out/eating stuff that’s not crap.

i think a lot about those things. i do a lot regarding those things. i fret a lot about those things.  i am alternately successful and a total failure at those things (more towards success of late–knock wood–than failure).  i do very little else.

i mean, i watch t.v. i go to church. i talk to my roommates occasionally.  sporadic fun is mixed in there.  but for the most part, that’s it.  for those not interested in those three things (*cough*98% of the human population, since dogs and cats are always interested in what you have to say as long as it happens in their general direction *cough*), i can only imagine that this blog has been a utter snoozefest of late.

i would apologize, but then again–these three things are the things that are most important to me right now. they are the things that will help me achieve my main goals.  they are the things that i SHOULD be focused on.

that’s not to say that the random ode to the blueberry bagel won’t still occur, or updates on my nonexistent love life, or recounts of sad instances of me sticking my foot squarely in my mouth, but i just wanted to acknowledge the fact that, yes, i am singleminded in my focus.  or tripleminded.  something like that.

and, no, i don’t expect all of you to be excited nor to stick around for that.

that makes me rather sad to say.  i had gotten very excited about the prospect of my blog getting more traffic, of diversifying my reader base, and all of those cool things that happen when you have the time, energy, and motivation to write really amazing things.

but see…those really amazing things? need to be about ann radcliffe. and jane austen. and charlotte smith. and helen maria williams. and mary wollstonecraft. and dorothy wordsworth.

and i can’t really publish here what i will write in my dissertation because…well…i’d like it to still be unique and unpublished by someone else when i am done.  you know, closely guarding my own brilliance for future gain.  perhaps not the way that socrates anticipated learning but it is the way of the world now. dissertations are on lockdown.

i’ve been thinking about writing about my class, but i feel hindered doing that because the things i want to say are very specific and this forum is very public.  password protecting the posts seems counterproductive–if i want to write about it in private, i can write about it in private.  but i don’t.  i want to tell you all what’s going on, but i also feel very strongly that i need to keep everything about my classes broad and nonspecific.  focused on me, perhaps, which i have done. but what i want to say is not focused on me.  so i don’t say it.

and while i probably do have lots to say about working out and eating right, since i’m probably getting more excitement and rejuvenation from that area of my life than i am from anything else (although the dissertation is looking up right now), this is not a weight loss/exercise blog.  and i don’t want to make it into that.

when i was reading in my new self-help book about writing a dissertation in 15 minutes a day (which is just fridiculously amazing), it talked about writing a zero draft…just sort of sitting down and letting all of your thoughts come pouring out without editing. i did that the other night focused on the draft i’m working on right now, my mind full of questions that seemed unanswerable, organizational problems that seem insurmountable.  here’s a snippet that doesn’t give anything at all away:

…Heaven help me if I know how to merge them all together.  I think that’s what’s stopping me. I just don’t know how to make the thinking align.  It’s all part of the big grand whole, I know that…but how to make it not feel choppy together in a chapter?

Or do I just give up and make it two chapters?  That feels like a copout. There’s got to be a way. I just don’t know what it is now.

as i was writing this post, i realized that’s where my head is at right now about the blog. and lots of the disparate parts of my life that don’t really fit into that three-fold mission.

i know i love the blog.

i know i want to keep it.

i just don’t know how to do what i once did while i’m funneling all of my energy into other things.  i don’t know how to not turn it into something boring and utterly inaccessible.  i don’t know HOW to keep it being what it is.

my mind is full of questions.  please forgive me if i mull them in silence a while before trying to work them out in words.

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2 Responses to “…this is your brain on dissertation.”

  1. Take your time and do what you need to do, deary. We’ll be rooting for you!

  2. you keep doing your thing- this is your space to write what YOU want, when you want. we’ll be around when you come back!

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