Wednesday, January 9, 2008

:: I'm A Dissertater, I'm An Engineer ::


One of my self-motivation tricks is fantasy. Another is planning. Unsurprising, then, that I’ve spent the last two weeks imagining myself finishing my first full dissertation draft by July 31st and then sailing through the revision process and defending the thing early in the fall. Unsurprising, too, that I have also calculated how many pages I’d have to write each week to make that happen, using the number of pages in my first two chapters to calculate the total length of the work and then subtracting the number of pages I have now and dividing by the 30 weeks that remain between now and July 31st.

The answer is seven. That’s approximately how many double-spaced pages I’d have to write each week.

What depresses me is how easy this sounds (one might even call it ridiculous – I could write three-times-seven pages a day on my own life or other nonsense) and how difficult it is going to prove to be. Because it’s not like everything already exists in my head, laid out nicely like little doll clothes. No. Because I chose to write a dissertation that requires me to formulate my own theory of how novels work, this thing exists as a vector with unknown magnitude. A two-dimensional arrow pointing me from here to somewhere. This thing is like a Project Runway Challenge From Hell in which each designer is inserted into a box and is given big rubber gloves that when worn provide access to an unwieldy ball-gown-sewing robot that no one at Parsons is trained to use. Sure, the designers may have some ideas but no sketches, no clue what to do next, and, to be sure, no dexterity.

OK, well, maybe it’s not quite that bad. But surely there will be a lot of weeks when I can’t manage a full seven pages – weeks during which I am in research/think/write/delete mode. That means there will need to also be a lot of weeks when I write far more than seven pages.

Maybe instead I could just audition for Project Runway. I could pioneer glove-handed robot sewing and be all Diana-From-Season-Two I’m-An-Engineer-I’m-A-Designer- I’m-An-Engineer. I can throw around terms like “reverse polarity” like the best of 'em.


juliepippert January 9, 2008 at 5:06 PM  

Honestly? Compared to your last paragraph? I think I'd rather write a dissertation, LOL. ;)

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