Buckle in, team.
It is T-minus 12 months until my final final (final) deadline. The time has come to get serious about my sit-rep and completion schedule.
Current thesis status
I’ve been thinking about my thesis as a patchwork quilt. Each chapter is a patch; the goal is to have a set of good-quality patches that work fabulously on their own terms while collectively making an interesting, satisfying, and effective whole.
Introductory patch: Exists, but doesn’t quite work with the rest of the piece. Pattern looks as if it was expecting to be attached to a different quilt. Not of prime quality. Significant rework needed before deadline.
Patch 1 (‘Original practices’ costume design at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre:
practice as experiment, re-enactment, and research): Good weave structure and strong pattern foundations, but currently full of holes. More work required to get it up to quilt standard.
Patch 2 (Tradition, Nostalgia, and Tourism: Jacobethan-Inspired Costuming and the Shakespeare Institution): Could be ready to go, but will need a thorough look over to see if any small gaps can be filled and/or extra detailing added.
Patch 3 (Displaced/Repurposed Elizabethan Icons): Similar state to Patch 2. Concluding elements to be added once all patches are complete (to link the pattern in to the big design through-line). Some thread sources to be confirmed to ensure the quality of the materials is up to scratch.
Patch 4 (Fantastical Imaginings): Currently in progress. Design fully planned out and weave coming along well. Completion expected in 2-4 weeks.
Patch 5 (Our Jacobethan Contemporary): Yet to be created. Some threads gathered and ideas circulating but no definite design in place. Due to be completed January 2020.
Concluding patch: So far from existing that I might need to research what concluding patches are supposed to look like.
To put things more numerically, I’ve written 58,500 of (up to) 80,000 words. Some of these words will need to be rewritten, but they exist. I’m looking forward to getting the final chapter drafted out – it’ll be good to know that the whole thing exists in some form, and that only editing lies between me and submission.
A month or two ago I drew up a Grand Plan for the next 12 months. It was a somewhat stress-inducing activity, but it’s helpful to know what my final year is likely going to look like. Here it is:
|September||Chapter Four: finish full draft.|
|October||Tie up any final loose ends re: Ch. Four and send to supervisors. [Week off to rest.] Begin writing Ch. Five.|
|November||Chapter Five in progress.|
|December||Chapter Five in progress.|
|January||Chapter Five: finish full draft. Tie up all loose ends and send to supervisors. [1-2 weeks off to rest.] Confirm full thesis draft with supervisors and agree commencement of write-up period.|
|February||WRITE-UP PERIOD BEGINS. Rework Ch. Three into journal article and submit. Send all chapters out to readers.|
|March||Edit/rewrite Introduction. Draft Conclusion.|
|April||Edit Chapter One. [Week off to rest.]|
|May||Edit Chapters Two and Three (following reader feedback).|
|June||Submit Intention to Submit form. Edit Chapters Four and Five.|
|July||Final edits to Introduction and Conclusion.|
|August||Tie up any loose ends. Formatting.|
|September||Submit thesis by end of September at the latest.|
As long as I don’t encounter any unexpected obstacles/crises, it all seems doable. (But please do let me know if I’ve missed something important, over-/underestimated timings etc.!) Sticking to my sacred No Working at Weekends rule and taking rest weeks at sensible intervals should ward off the threat of a burnout.
I’m having mixed emotions about the idea of finishing at the moment. I still love what I’m doing, and the thought of it being over gives me genuine stomach pangs of sadness. At the same time, I can’t wait to hold the whole thesis in my hands and know that I made it. Hopefully the post-submission grief won’t hit too hard.
Anywho, for now I have a busy year of writing and editing to focus on. More updates as I have them.
I’m (hopefully) going to be starting my PhD this month. There is so much I don’t know about what to expect, but at the same time I’m excited to get started. How have you found it?
How exciting! I’ve really loved it. The whole thing has been a massive learning curve, and there’ve been ups and downs along the way, but my experience on the whole has been great. Make sure you take regular time off work (weekends etc.), and maintaining a good relationship with your supervisors is key. Good luck with your first few months! 🙂
Nothing surprising about the Introduction not quite fitting the rest as yet— this might be counter-intuitive but it should always be crafted/finalized last, as in, once one is quite sure about what follows… You are doing GREAT!
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