one bite at a time

1 January, 2015. This is the Year of the Thesis. Of course, the process started quite some time ago, but there is something about the calendar year ticking over so that the year matches the one on everything where my planned submission date appears. If clichés abounded before, I’m bracing myself for another inundation now. Rubber hitting the road, putting one’s money where one’s mouth is, hard yards, light at the end of the tunnel that isn’t an oncoming train, and so on.

If I’ve wibbled over things before, I am prepared for that to pale into insignificance before this thing that I’ve never done before – write a book. The PhD thesis is an odd kind of book, but it is nevertheless a book of 80,000-100,000 words (somewhere in the region of 200 or so pages of double spaced text). The unique and arguably still valuable thing about the thesis is that it requires the candidate to write an extended and coherent argument based on their research project in a way that you don’t get with a series of journal publications. There are a whole mess of conventions about what has to be included and how which make them odd if you’re not used to reading them. It also presents challenges for people writing them to make them engaging to read for examiners (see Pat Thomson’s post about keeping your examiner on track).

If I may indulge in a few clichés myself, this is really the pinnacle of this project, the . The whole point is to produce an argument, a thesis in the most precise sense of the word, about which I have designed and carried out my research and have something to say as a result. That’s exciting, and also mildly panic-inducing. Even though I have everything that I need to do it – data, time, support, and lo even an argument – it does feel like looking up at the North Face of Mt Everest in the knowledge that I have to climb it. It is also uncharted territory, as I didn’t get to this point Last Time. It’s also the ‘home stretch’ because this is the only part I need to do now, write the damn thesis and submit it.*

How easy is it to slip into hyperbole …

Late last year I was reminded of the joke about how you eat an elephant. So now I have a picture similar to this stuck on my wall for when I need reminding …

One bite at a time

It is a lot and I will have to pace myself. Last thing I want or need now is indigestion. What a lovely mess of metaphors in this post. I think the only one I haven’t used of my regulars is the ‘endurance race.’

Welcome to Year of The Thesis. Yes, there’ll be dragons. Hopefully it’s mostly a fun ride.


*yes, there are actually other bits I will need to do for the examination, including an oral examination (I think), but I’m not thinking about that right now!


PhD Game:

Surely has to be some XP in here somewhere

Steel Trap Merit Badge for Tenacity – Reaching The Home Stretch

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One Response to one bite at a time

  1. donnadmunro says:

    Reblogged this on Umoja Writing Competition and commented:
    I thought our writers might enjoy this elephant.

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