August 18, 2013

A Draft

Who has two thumbs and a complete thesis draft?
Who has had an average of 4 hours of sleep a night and feels loonier than a ‘toon created by the brothers Warner?

My stress level has been probably the highest it’s been in over a decade. Last week I had a near constant stress induced migraine. The stress wouldn’t let me sleep, making me more and more tired, but the fatigue was preventing me from being as productive as I needed to be and I’d fall farther behind and stress out more. Last Wednesday I went to bed a little past midnight and could not fall asleep until 6:15 in the morning! Enough.

I ended up changing my approach to my thesis. I had been trying to perfect each chapter at a time. I kept thinking about all the unfinished sections, and I think that was contributing to my stress level. So I decided no more worrying about writing well, just write. I have some sections that are pretty rough, but I have a draft!

My current thesis draft by the numbers
– 111 References
– 135 Pages (92 are the actual thesis, the rest are references, boiler plate and appendices)
– 8 Chapters
– 2 Appendices
– 14 Figures
– 11 Tables

I know it’s those numbers are rather meaningless, it’s the quality of the content and not the quantity of content, but they give me a sense of accomplishment. Not that long ago my thesis was only 122 pages, and before it reached 135 I dropped it down to 106 by removing extraneous content and tangential references. I want from 72 references, down to 61 and back up to 111 in a couple of weeks, and I have more to add! I have accomplished a lot, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. And if I can do all that, surely I can finish.

And now, I’m off to what I hope is the first of many good nights of sleep.

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  1. Yay! I understand this approach to writing. I often try to perfectly structure out each line of text and then get stressed about not having more written. So write and let the committee sort it out.

    • I’m a firm believer that presentation (and writing ability) matter. Reviewers are far less likely to accept a paper if we authors haven’t communicated our ideas clearly. That said, I hope my committee who knows me would cut me a little slack in this area.


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