Most Sunday mornings, I wake up early, grab a mason jar of water along with a cup of tea or coffee, and quietly proceed to start my work day. The plan is always the same, work first, then write thesis. This sounds like a pretty simple plan, but it’s been 4 months and I have not had successful follow through once.
As an undergrad, I would set schedules and keep to it. In my head, as I spent day after day in the struggle, I told myself it would get easier and once I graduated the world was my oyster (still not exactly sure what that means, but I was with the sentiment).
I had assumed that by the time I got to this point I would have had my stuff together! I was supposed to be a mean, green, writing and researching machine! But more and more, I actually find it much harder to be as disciplined as I was once. Truthfully, I’m burning out. Yet, I had the foresight early into my grad career to consider that I, perhaps, I would need a break. I figured that keeping up my school load, work stress, community engagement, and just being a single girl surviving in New York City would feel a bit like drowning. So, I decided to detour just a bit and instead of going the BA to PhD route, I would do BA to MA (possibly dual MA) to PhD. I won’t be able to tell you if this was a bad move until I have some hindsight on it, but lately it has begun to feel that way, so I’m looking for some advice.
I’m at the point where the only thing standing between me and graduating is my thesis. I set myself up pretty well so that, academically, my only focus would be on my thesis. I also signed up for a half marathon in April to make sure that I forced myself to stay healthy as I spent hours sitting on my butt, researching and writing (plus I work a desk job). My job has a set schedule, so I could easily plan around that. But, alas, I sit, surrounded by my thesis research at my feet, within a week of my first draft deadline, and not motivated at all to write.
I can’t get my mind to quiet down! Not to mention, I have so much research and notes floating around in my head that I can’t figure out how to start. So, I think to myself, “I’ll go for a run!” I change my clothes, then decide “Nooooo, I need to write!”
I sit back down, turn on the computer to search for samples of literature reviews and other thesis to make sure I’m doing it right. Then I get so many different examples, I get hung up on trying to figure out which sample is most like what I should be doing. A few hours pass, I have achieved nothing, and it’s time to get dinner.
I’ve tried making schedules, writing during vacation or holidays, but there is always ‘one more thing’ I need to do before I can start. How do people do this?! Now is not the time for me to get burned out! What are your tricks for getting this done? Group writing sessions? Sequester? Anal retentive observance of a schedule? The acquisition of a muse?
I’m sincerely running out of ideas and times…