Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back to school

Now is the time for modest goals. I've been on a three-month hiatus from work and am beginning to dread trying to start back up next week. Classes (and teaching) start next Wednesday. Maybe it's a function of the change in the academic calendar (i.e. three weeks lopped off the end of Summer) or maybe it's because I decided not to feel guilty about not doing work for a while (that was a nice change) but I'm not having any of the traditional excitement about the start of a new year. Maybe it's just the nature of post-coursework life. I've just got this monolithic project looming ahead of me and I don't know how to cope with that.

Anyway, here's what I'm thinking. The first week (or two) of classes will be crazy, so I'm unlikely to get a great deal of outside work done, but I'll try to get started before then. I'm envisioning a plan of doing dissertation work for two hours a day on normal days (M-F) until my schedule settles. Then, I will attempt to have one day each week when I can do at least four or five hours of work on the dissertation. I'm going to try to read and take notes on/react to one pertinent article each day as well as starting to (re)read my primary literature. Also, once a month I'm going to try to go to the library: If it's a Widener day, I'll browse the new periodicals; if I feel like Houghton, I'll spend time with archival materials and landscape stuff (Humphrey Repton's Red Books, here I come!).

Most important will be the note-taking and writing. I need to get good at that if I'm going to churn out a dissertation in the next two years. (Three?)

Wish me luck, at any rate.