No, not Christmas, you fool- the start of another academic year. The campus, which has been so lovely and quite is suddenly not so quiet, as sport societies throw rugby balls across the road, night clubs offer trendy looking people (i.e not me) their flyers and a new group of freshers make their way into the university.
Even though term hasn’t officially started yet, I can slowly feel the increase in momentum, and know that if I’m not careful the PhD is going to get lost in the hubbub of teaching, work, conferences, etc. etc. So, I’ve started to write, even though I don’t know if I’m ready to really start writing up my chapters, I’ve started anyway. As a classic over-committer, I know that if I don’t start now when I have time, I won’t be likely to start when lots of other more immediate but less important things need doing. As Het pointed out in her blog, procrastination takes many devious forms, including doing work that seems easier and more pleasant than the things that you really need to be doing. And I really need to finish this PhD.
Okay, I have a year at the very least (more likely 18 months since I intend to take all my writing up period) but I already know how fast time goes, hell it doesn’t feel that long ago that I was a fresher myself, even it’s been seven years. I already get a bit tetchy when people ask how long I have left, and writing, however painful it might be, at least makes me feel like I’m doing something. Without wanting to sound too much like I’m applying for a job as a motivational speaker, I do feel like I’ve realised that the only way this is going to get done is if I prioritise it. Selfishness, quite rightly is not a desirable trait, but the flip side is that sometimes you spend so long worrying about what other people need you to do, or what they want that you forget that your own aims and objectives matter too. I’m not saying I’m going to start completely ignoring everyone and never helping anyone even when I can, but I do think it’s important that I realise that it is not at all possible for me to say yes to everything. (Just so this is related to my research- there was an interesting article in Ms. in the eighties about this- the perils of over commitment, and I do wonder if more societal pressure is exerted on women to do this).
So I will write- 500 words a day, which is easily doable when I have nothing else to do, but not so unmanageable on days when I’ve got over stuff to sort out, and I’ll even write when I don’t feel like it, and the words might be crap, but they’ll be words on a page that weren’t there before. My internal critic is lambasting me and telling me I could do 1000 words a day but my internal critic is usually a complete cow, so I’m telling her to back off.