Yesterday was the last full day I’d get to spend on the thesis for over a week, and by the time I collapsed into my bed in the wee hours of morning I remember feeling upset by how little I’d achieved. Today I feel pretty good about it; frustrated, to be sure, but object enough to recognise that yesterday’s wordcount was actually pretty good by my standards.
The reason I stalled out around three AM is because I realised that while I could identify the function genre plays in the process of editing work, I wasn’t yet doing anything with the realisation except pointing out that it’s there – it’s an example in need of practical application and I’m not yet sure how to do so without actively editing a piece within the exegesis itself (and, I’ll be honest, I’ve already played that trick in the preface when addressing the genre of the exegesis). While I’m not quite at a loss on how to approach this, the idea I do have for addressing it largely involves discussing the active problems I’m having critting someone else’s work at present due to genre concerns; I could ask permission and stretch some friendships in order to do this, but it’s sufficiently awkward that I keep setting it aside and looking for something else.
In any case, the current state of the exegesis is: 12,000 words drafted; one and a half chapters close to being done; eighteen thousand words to go. I’ve got a window of about four hours in which to work on things this afternoon, which represents the longest stretch of continual time I have to work on it until Sunday morning. Tonight I have dinner with Chris Lynch and the inestimable Ben Francisco (in town from New York to wow us with his fabulousness), tomorrow I play tour guide for Ben while Chris is work, and Friday is errand day and work meetings and dinner with my Dad for his birthday. Admittedly the Saturday plans are kinda mutable – I can cancel, and may yet do so when the guilt at shirking off the thesis bears down on me – but I’m safely going to say that this will not be done by the end of February and that’s going to be cutting things very very fine with the overall completion deadline. And even if cancelling on Ben and my Dad were things I need to do, I’m pretty sure I should be taking a break soon anyway: I’ve developing a pronounced hunch after spending too many continious hours bent over the keyboard without adequate back support (curse you, broken office chair) and my body is starting to protest the lack of sleep.
Still, for all that, I feel pretty good at the moment. Yes, the February deadline is as unmet as the January one was, but both are progress deadlines (as opposed to the May Deadline of Death). The project has limped into the zone where I’m actually excited by it, rather than daunted by, and that makes the deadline of death seem achievable rather than nightmarish.