Time to be realistic…

I still really want a first draft of my dissertation done by the end of the year. But I also know I need to be realistic. And that at the pace I’m currently writing at, it’s just not going to happen.

Right now, I have six chapters left to write. I’ve been working on a conference paper, which will get turned into one of those chapters. And I have an old conference paper (that I need to turn into a journal paper) that is going to be another of those six. So those two chapters are 80% done. But that still leaves four more chapters. One, the big one, is my related work. And is going to require doing more paper reading in order to complete. Two, will be relatively short, since one is on why we made some decisions we made and the second is the conclusion. And the final chapter is to write up about the two experiments I ran that failed – which includes diving back into their results to pull out some information to share (even though it’s not good). Overall, six chapters, even with two mostly done, is still six chapters!

Random Side Note – yes, I have a lot of chapters in my dissertation. Ten in total. But, surprisingly, my dissertation is likely to end up not very long, as they chapters are actually pretty short.

So I need a new plan or goal on how I’m going to finish. I head off for Christmas break on the 20th, which leaves me with ~2 weeks for my final push (although I’m sure I will be looking for escapes during the holiday, and what better excuse than needing to write).

At the very least, I want to get those two chapters that are almost done, done. This involves 1) finishing the first draft of the conference paper,  2) then editing that paper into a chapter format and 3) editing the other paper into a chapter format. This is definitely doable, and should actually take no more than a week (I’m so close on that first paper).

It’d feel even better to also manage to knock off the chapter that’s just dealing the decisions we made and why (which would also put me at 3/6).

And I think my possibly still reachable goal (and the highest goal I should realistically set with any expectation of being able to reach it), would be to also get the chapter done on the two failed experiments. Or at least started.

I need to start thinking about the real possibility of defending and what the deadlines are so that I could make June convocation. Which, from a brief glance, looks like I need to have my final draft done by the end of January at the latest. Okay. Time crunch motivation, please start taking hold.


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