Good News: I Get to Do the Most Intimidating Project I Have Ever Undertaken

So, I have some good news. I recently got my proposal for my dissertation project approved by my committee. Yippee! This means that I get to start writing my actual dissertation, which leads me to some scary news. I now have to write my PhD dissertation.

Holy. Fluffballs.

My Little Research Buddy
Should I be worried that my research seems to have lulled my dog into dreaming? Photo By: Elizabeth Preston

All of my schooling has been leading up to this. Graduate school. College. High school. First grade. All of it. No pressure.

I’ve had about a bajillion (and yes, that is the official technical term for that number) thoughts of self-doubt, and it’s admittedly made me spin my wheels in my writing. I write. I erase. I research. I think that I can do better. I write. I erase. I research. I doubt that I can do better. I write. I erase. I research. I wonder what the blankety blank I’m doing. Rinse and repeat.

This isn’t caused by a lack of support. I have the best support system anyone could ever ask for—parents who cheer me every step of the way and do whatever they can to help, The Ranger who is incredibly encouraging and always lets me blabber on about pedagogical theories and humor history, the bestie who is always ready to jump in and brainstorm ideas with me and root for me, several mentors who spur me on while keeping me humble and telling me realistically if ideas will work, and a little dog who is the best writing buddy I could ever have.

My Little Writing Buddy
Snowie loves to hang out with me when I write. She usually varies between sitting and watching me, sitting and watching the world outside, and sleeping. Photo By: Elizabeth Preston

This isn’t caused by a lack of organization. Part of my dissertation proposal required me to break down my dissertation into chapters, and then those chapters into sections, and then those sections into goals to accomplish in each section. I have my list of sources (and I’ve read and marked up 98% of them) categorized by topic, and those lists correspond to chapters of my dissertation.

This isn’t caused by a lack of research. I’ve been researching this topic for years. I’ve kept my research, written about the research, created extensive and detailed annotated bibliographies for oodles (yes, that is the official number) of sources. I’ve done independent studies with people who know my topic, who live my topic, who make money from writing connected to my topic. My topic is solid.

So, what is my problem?

I honestly don’t know.

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5 thoughts on “Good News: I Get to Do the Most Intimidating Project I Have Ever Undertaken

Add yours

  1. Don’t freak out! It helps a lot of people to think of each chapter as a separate paper, for a while. You’ve written things like that before.

  2. That’s a really good idea. I’ve been thinking about it as a whole, big paper, and it’s overwhelming. But, viewing it as separate papers I think will help make it not so intimidating. That is great advice. Thank you.

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