…for completely and utterly cocking things up!
The thesis deadline is looming. No, it’s not the recently declared 13 December 2013. Really! Did you think I would stick to that?
Turns out I couldn’t stick to it even if I wanted to.
Yesterday, not having a proper space to sit and make sense of Chapter Eight (see the ‘plan’ below), I decided to not waste time and take a look over and edit Chapter One.
What a mistake that was, morale-wise.
What a complete and utter lot of bottom-refuse that was! After a few hours of trying to figure out what the dickens it was all about, I moved on with slightly higher hopes to Chapter Two only to discover that was an even bigger pile of b.r.!
And now I have only one month or so to go until I have to submit this and it is in a complete shambles!
There is no one to blame for this except myself. The past [almost] eight years has been spent allowing everyone and everything apart from my Magnificent Octopus or, as it shall be known during days when I’m feeling like this, my Turd-Pile, to have priority. I have put casual jobs before my Turd-Pile. I have put other people’s needs and lives before my Turd-Pile. I have let The Melancholy take me away from the Turd-Pile too often. I have done everything except direct my undivided attention to my MO/TP!
I have said it before, I shall say it again — One cannot undertake a thesis part time. Well, you can, but it is not likely to be the brilliant opus it could be if you cloistered yourself away for three to four years and devoted your time entirely to its creation.
If you are in the fortunate position, as I was, to be awarded a scholarship, hunker down in your writing hole, wish your friends and family a temporary goodbye, and get on with it. There is nothing more destructive to the thought process than interruptions, and in my case, Me. Every time I listen to a particular episode of ‘Just A Minute’, there is a moment when the brilliant Kenneth Williams has a little hissy fit and laments, “I’ve got no flow!” Mr Williams, I know exactly what you mean. All these self-allowed interruptions to my thesis development have interrupted my flow and now in these final weeks, I am in too panicked and unprepared a state to find my flow. (And my sense of equilibrium, if this bloggy post is anything to go by.)
And it does not help in the slightest when I rediscover a draft and it reveals itself to be a hot, steamy pile of doggy-do-do!
I really despair of myself. If I was tweeting my despair, I would end on a #FacePalm.
The other crucial failing of my candidature is that I have procrastinated over and avoided the commencement of each chapter for so long and so completely that I had no time to prepare a ‘Shirley Plan’ for each. The wonderful thing about the ‘Shirley Plan’, devised for me back in 1998 by m’colleague and friend, Shirley, now Ariel, is that it helped me with my flow! I insert it here for you so you can utilise it yourself in prepping for your own writing spurts.
Doing the creation of my dissertation, I spent 6 weeks producing a Shirley Plan for the complete thing, a document I still have bound and displayed on my Shelf of Achievements. (Although, I should say that it is currently in box #23 in preparation for my relocation to the Mother Country in February.) The beauty of the Shirley Plan, for me, is it gives me flow! The creation of this thesis has been all about writing myself quite violently into brick walls. I lose my flow. A concept of the chapter is floating about amongst my little grey cells, which are hardly reliable after four decades of use and five years afflicted by The Melancholy, but with the overwhelming amount of primary source evidence and no clear, documented Shirley Plan for where I am heading, BANG!, brick wall.
So now I’m in the unhappy position of knowing that I have, largely, eight turds (aka chapters) that no matter how much I polish, will still be turds.
(Okay, maybe they are not complete turds. I’m sure I’m being overly harsh. Not surprising as this is one of my other fatal flaws, along side self-destruction. #FacePalm.)
There is nothing to be done now except polish my TP as best I can. The thesis has to be submitted in January, come what may. If it is a complete and utter disaster, I have no one to blame, except Me. I shall run away to the Mother Country, retreat from social media and sink into the comfortable, non-demanding obscurity of a dull nine-to-five secretarial role and pretend the last eight years haven’t happened. Well, except for the good bits that involved my fabulous niece and nephews. My goodness, I haven’t set such a great example to them for the whole PhD thing. What a terrible situation I’m now in. After years of frustration suffering the ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ line from my parentals, I’m going to have to pull the same on my niece and nephews. #FacePalm Although, maybe I won’t have to. They are old enough, clever enough and have known me long and too well, so I’m sure they have figured out that when it comes to practical life and work matters, Auntie Lisa’s example is not the one to follow.
Well, for now, in my Negative Nelly state, I retreat to the Special Collections room at the Scholars Centre to do my 3.5 hours of paid employment for the day. Maybe sorting through the papers of Professor Leslie R. Marchant might inspire me to come back to the desk I have claimed for the day and begin to make some sense of the gold-ribbon-wrapped bundle of notes meant to form some sort of Shirley Plan for Chapter Eight. I’m certainly not going to improve my mood by returning to chapters One and Two today! I shall deny their existence for a little longer and concentrate on making a complete mess/triumph of Chapter Eight and my Introduction.
On that positive note, I leave you. I hope you have much more productive Thesis Writing Days/Week than I have had over the past week. It’s December. It’s a positive month. My Mum will be making chocolate coconut balls for Christmas, hopefully factoring in enough for me to be sampling them daily up to the Big Event. It’s also the month my nephew arrives from the UK for a Christmas holiday with us.
Yes, let’s sprinkle some fairy dust, think happy thoughts and write some brilliant stuff!