State of the Dissertation and Dissertator

State of the Dissertation:  I have finished first drafts of four out of five chapters.  According to one of my committee members, the stuff looks good enough for a dissertation, although not good enough for a book.  At this stage, that’s fine with me!  I also feel like I’ve hit a tipping point.  With just one chapter left to write, the project not only looks do-able, but feels almost inevitable.  It’s as though the end of the dissertation is pulling me towards it.  I have this feeling that if I get stuck during this chapter, I’ll push through by sure force of momentum.  It’s probably like running a marathon — once you see the finish line, how can you not finish?  This is a good thing, because I’m not entirely sure how this last chapter is going to shape up.  Which brings me to…
State of the Dissertator: I feel pretty confident about getting to the end of the project, and I think I’ve written something that (some) people will be interested in.  My writing rhythm has worked out pretty well.  But I’m nervous about a few things.  First, I’m not sure where I’m headed with the last chapter.  I haven’t brainstormed/outlined yet, so that’s to be expected.  Second, I’m developing pre-job application season anxiety: wondering what jobs will become available, whether I’ll be ready by then, etc.  That’s silly, of course, since we’re at least three months away from announcements going out, and there ain’t a damn thing I can do about it, anyway.  Third, I’m worried that I haven’t stayed engaged with the things I should be doing in addition to writing: getting to conferences, staying in touch with other scholars in my field, etc.  I keep pushing that back until I get done with the draft.  So we’ll see what happens come July 1st, when I plan to be done with my last chapter.  Fingers crossed.

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