Sobriquet 40.14

Today was, quite unexpectedly, one of the better days I've had lately, both in terms of working on the dissertation and enjoying myself. Though I had planned to finish reading In the Heart of the Country sometime tomorrow, I went ahead and read the rest of the book this afternoon. Then, energized after an evening of pub food and hanging out with friends (which I'd not planned on doing), I finished reviewing the criticism on The Master of Petersburg. So I'm in good shape.

Now, it is a matter of getting myself back into writing mode after close to two months of reading and note-taking. It's strange: when I started writing what I'd intended to be a five- or ten-page section on Age of Iron in January, I'd assumed it would have been the first few pages of a long chapter on J. M. Coetzee. Although I was worried about the quality of my writing at that time, I wasn't too worried about the quantity of words devoted to Age of Iron, assuming that I would use the novel as an ingress into a broad discussion of several Coetzee novels. Now that the direction and focus of my dissertation has narrowed, however, I worry a great deal about the length of the next section. I think how can I possibly write another thirty page chapter on this novel? Having raised the bar of my expectations, I fear I will not be able to replicate the unanticipated success of the first section. Where I had very little difficulty writing more than I'd planned the last time 'round, this time I worry that I will struggle to hit my target length--and that worries me.

That's where I stand now. I am staring at yet another seemingly insurmountable wall in what can only be described as a series of apparently insurmountable walls comprising an unfathomably huge obstacle. I try to remind myself that I already scaled the first wall, that I emerged unscathed but, man oh man, that sense of accomplishment is a flimsy one at best and relying too heavily upon past achievements for present success, I suspect, mightn't be too wise.

We will see how things go.

For tomorrow: Transcribe a bit of material.


minxy said…
Do your chapters need to be 30 pages in length? Can they be 20 pages and still be long enough? Or, could you set your goal at an acceptable chapter length that's less than 30 pages and try to meet and/or surpass that goal? You're the boss of your dissertation, not the other way around, so you can control your content goals to what is reasonable for you, the material and the dissertation itself.

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