Friday, June 22, 2007

Good Things do Happen

Unfortunately, these days I actually have more ideas for blog posts than I have time to blog. But, I'd like to stay committed to the blog, at least one post a week, because it's just a useful process for me. A few good things have happened recently, and they couldn't have come at a better time.

First, a panel that I'd proposed for a conference this fall was accepted - yay! Even better, I've already got panelists, and I've already got my paper drafted. The best part is that this conference is the same conference I attended a few years ago, at which time my paper was solicited for publication by one of the co-editors of a really good journal in my field. I got his card, remember him, and I'm totally hoping to run into him again in the fall. My Grand Plan is to be able to say to him "Remember how I said that paper was part of a larger project? Well, it is: my dissertation. And it just so happens that I've got a chapter right here for your review should you like to take a look-see at it." Yes, a bit dramatic and wishful thinking of me, but I'm thinking ahead.

Second, I just had a fantastic meeting with my dissertation advisor! She liked the draft "chunk" I'd given her; she thinks I'm right on target in terms of progress on the diss; more importantly, she thinks my project is coming together "quite nicely." Alas, I am a complete slave to her approval and positive reinforcement. Truth is, I want to be her when I grow up.

In terms of the dissertation, though, I'm extremely insecure about my writing and my ideas, so I'm never really convinced that I'm doing good work until I hear "someone else" say that I am (not just anyone, of course). I've been stressing lately about just getting something down, getting some writing done, just to see if it's on the right track. I've got about 40 pages or so, which isn't much. It's nowhere near what I'd hoped to have done by now. But, I've realized that measuring my productivity in terms of how many pages I got done each day, week, month wasn't working for me anymore. After talking with my advisor, I've realized how unrealistic my goals were to begin with, and I've come up with a different strategy for measuring my progress. I also asked her if I could start coming in for more frequent meetings - every 3 weeks - which I think will help in terms of working out ideas more clearly before they hit the page and realizing the kinds of framework I have to provide for my readers (like I hadn't really thought out the differences in addressing the performance of dramatic works vs. addressing the text of published dramatic works; do I speak of viewers or readers?).

What I originally thought could be one chapter that would cover three early modern women writers is now becoming two (possibly three) chapters. A big difference considering I has hoping to have the chapter done by the end of the month --HA!

But I'm much more comfortable in the process now. I feel like as long as I'm researching for this chapter and staying focused on what else I may need to know to continue drafting, I'm doing pretty well.

I'm doing so well, I think I'm going to go to the gym. This is a desperately needed activity right now.Like, I won't wear shorts outside the house (except to the gym) - despite the fact that the heat index is 100 degrees - until the jiggly-bits of cottage cheese are eradicated from my legs. Seriously, my thighs have more hail damage than a used car lot, and it just shouldn't be this way. I'm not fat or anything, but I'm seriously out of shape. Enough body-hating for now. Enough dissertating for the week. If I'm ever going to take my daughters to the pool this summer, I've got to sweat away the dimples, so I'm off!


mgm said...

Work it!

And yippee on the panel, panelists, and the drafted paper. You deserve a break.

What do I sound like a burger joint commercial?

mgm said...

Oops, I meant "why do I . . . " instead of "what"