Writing Is Happening

21Nov06

I don’t know if it is the impending self-imposed November 26th deadline or the public embarrassment of admitting I was not writing much, but in the last week, the dissertation writing has really taken off. I’ve got 10,903 words written now, which is roughly equivalent to 36 pages. By Sunday, which is the deadline I set myself two months ago, I aim to be somewhere around 15,000 words, or about 50 pages. Already I am pushing the limits of the longest academic trestise I’ve ever written. By Sunday, I’ll definitely have surpassed any previous limits.

I’m working on chapter one, which basically, to use a spatial metaphor, gives the lay of the land. Here, I have the task of explaining how my field has gotten to where it now stands in relation to space and place in narrative. I trace not only the developments in theories and models but also the history of biases for or against treating space as an important element of stories. It’s hard work, but at the same time it’s nice work to come first because it is the least me-driven of my chapters. This chapter relies on my understanding of what has come before me but does not require (at least not in the same way that the subsequent chapters will require) that I develop my own theories, definitions, and models.

In other words, this chapter is going to go a lot smoother than the next one. That deadline is, to my endless joy, not until mid-to-late January.

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