The 10-week dissertation-or-bust plan
I’d like to inform you, my dear handful of readers, about my current plans for finishing my dissertation, in the hopes that internet accountability will help it actually happen.
As suggested by my advisor, I am now on the 10-week dissertation completion or bust program (patent pending), aiming for a mid-May defense. I thus need to have a full draft to give to my readers in early April. This is scary, but not too scary, since I have okay drafts of every chapter. I have some deadline pressure, since my advisor is on sabbatical next year and will be travelling over the summer as well. The best incentive, of course, is to have the diss done and no longer looming malevolently over my life, as my characters might describe VD. The diss (or, as they said, ‘men’s diseases’), as they advertised hyperbolically, is an obstacle to future health and success.
The 10-week plan will keep me working very hard until the diss is finally done, which will come at the expense of many other things in my life, but (fear not!) not this blog, which I enjoy and is arguably useful for my professional writing. And, of course, Bill Turkel tagged me on the 5 things meme and I have brilliant ideas for my post (which involve–well, you’ll see).
Here’s the exact schedule of when I’ll turn things in to my advisor and committee. Feel free to write me and ask if I’m actually keeping up with it.
Chapter 3 (Chicago)–Feb 1st
Chapter 2 (Milwaukee)–Feb 14
Chapter 4 (Salvarsan)–Feb 28
Chapters 1 (performance) and 5 (masculinity)–Mar 20
Intro and conclusion–Mar 31
To readers–April 5
To committee–April 23
Defense–week of May 14
If you’re writing your dissertation, especially if you’re just starting, may I recommend the Dissertation Calculator from the University of Minnesota Libraries? If you give it a start and end date, it generates milestones, which can be emailed to you. It does include such stages as ‘getting closure,’ and doesn’t end with the defense. Here’s a sample calculation using, roughly, my dates. If you’re a methodical worker, this might be an accurate representation of the diss process, but for me it isn’t really. I love the concept, but how can it be made more flexible? It works well as a checklist, if not an accurate calendar of dissertation progress.