Friday, May 13, 2011

And Write I Must

Oh readers, I disappeared there for a moment, didn't I? Or at least it seemed like it. I was on a roll in March. Then April came around and I kept the rhythm going. But once I left town at the end of April to go to NYC for a few days, my carefully constructed routine fell apart.

I planned to re-read Ann Petry's The Street on the plane ride. I thought, if I read it on the plane, I can afford to not think about my dissertation that whole weekend. This did not work: traveling with a small child was not easy, even if Radioguy was there to shoulder the responsibilities with me. Miss E is overall an easygoing baby, but after an hour or an hour and a half on the plane, she was done with it and ready to move on. Result? Crying baby. I managed to read when Miss E and Daddy napped, but once she was up I was on Mommy duty. I don't blame my daughter or Radioguy; I should have planned things better. Now I know for next time.

When I returned, I had only read less than 100 pages of The Street. So I had to come up with new game plan for May. (And did I mention that the rough draft of Chapter 2 is due at the beginning of June? I need to finish it by May 31st so I can edit it the first week of June.) But that game plan? Out the window. I've been grading and dealing with end-of-semester stuff since I returned. I've been able to squeeze some reading here and there, but today I finally feel like I might be done with the novel--three weeks after I started it.

Last night I got frustrated because, when I thought I could sit down to do some dissertation work, I remembered I had some quiz grades to input. I worked on the grades, but I wasn't happy about it. When Radioguy came home from doing the Radio Thing, I was cleaning up around the house, in my own little funk. Before I went to bed I typed on my iPhone some things I had on my mind while lying in bed. I figured I had to get up early in the morning and needed my rest. My frustration was not about to let me go down easily, so I wrote. It wasn't anything coherent or groundbreaking, but it was good to let it out. Today I feel ready to move on.

The thing that clicked for me was that we're two weeks into May, but I have two and a half weeks left. I am grading next week, but I can schedule my grading around dissertation work (not the other way around--sorry, Papers Yet to Be Graded). After that, I have a good week and a half of nothing but dissertation (and job hunting). So it's not as bad as it sounds. If I were writing a paper for a class, I would've owned that paper and finished it in a week. I was good at this during coursework. Heck, I wrote a half-decent, 26-page field exam in 72 hours, from start to finish--and from scratch. I can do this.

So that's where I am, readers. Stay tuned.

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