I spoke with my supervisor on Friday afternoon, hoping to resolve a few of the concerns I have about the introduction. As usual, I walked out of her office with a greater sense of confidence than I'd had when I walked in and, more importantly, a greater sense of direction. Still, despite these very positive developments, I still found myself struggling to get any work done over the weekend. To be sure, I read a bit, but nowhere near as much as I would have liked. Ultimately, I think that the reason for my stalling is the same compounded burn-out brought on by a full teaching load of five courses wrapping up, a semester's worth of very long days, and nearly two years of working on the dissertation each day, without a break that I've alluded to before. This is unsurprising, of course, and even understandable, but the difficulty in getting myself to do anything productive always frustrates me. There's definitely a part of me that wants to wait until the semester is officially over to begin working on the introduction, which would make sense if it weren't for the fact that I feel like I am running on momentum. If I stop running, I suspect it might be difficult to pick up and go again.
So I go on.
One of the most difficult stages of dissertation-writing, I find, is the period during which the writer must sift through his or her raw research material, plucking out the relevant bits, trying not to feel too overwhelmed by the often huge pile of books and articles. And that's precisely where I find myself at the moment. So, as has been my strategy all along, I will try and do a tiny bit each day and blog about it to keep myself centered. Here goes.
For tomorrow: Read In the Heart of the Country or go over some of the theoretical material I checked out of the library today.