Today I officially start writing my dissertation. It’s definitely been a long time coming, but I’m glad it’s finally here. And I use the word “officially”, because those who have followed this blog, know I’ve actually been doing some writing for about a year now.
On Friday I came up with an outline, and went over it with my supervisor. Currently we have the work I’ve done (plus introduction, related work and conclusion) spread out over 10 (yes, 10!) chapters. I did a pretty vague outline, in that I said what the general focus of each chapter was, and some of the subsections, it’s definitely not a comprehensive list.
The only thing I’m a little worried about, as I now move forward into the actual writing stage, is writing in order. I’m one of those people who likes to jump around when I’m writing a long document. Today I might feel like writing the experimental design and results sections and tomorrow the introduction. I find it really hard to sit down and write from beginning to end. But, I’ve been told that’s what I need to do. My supervisor wants to go through the chapters as I finish them and he wants to do so in order. I get that this is how he works, but it’s a little frustrating know it’s not how I work, and I’m the one who has to write it.
What I’m hoping to do, is to do both – in order and jump around. I want to aim to spend some specific amount of time writing daily during the week (probably an hour or so). And then, divide it up so that I spend part of it working on where I’m “suppose” to be working (say on the introduction), and then the rest on whatever I actually want to write. If I can manage to do this, I’m hoping I’ll get the benefit of both worlds – I’ll be able to make steady progress on the fronts he wants, while at the same time working on sections I want to. And, as I move through the thesis, the later chapters should miraculously come together much faster (since I’ll have already been putting in work on them).
The one thing that’s going to slow me a bit down, is that I’ve decided to start a new document instead of the one I’ve been writing in already. I think it’s probably better to do this, because the “old” one doesn’t match the outline we decided on. And, it’s not like I can’t open it and copy over chunks of it as needed. But I can have some control over the new document in staying closer to our envisioned final product.
So, while I officially start today, I have a feeling all that’s going to mean is I create the new document and layout all the sections. But hey, that’s still progress.