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This Category: > PhD Advice / Support


The nocturnal workers' thread

User: Sue2604 - 13 October 2009 20:58

Hi Bilbo

Glad to hear that things are moving ahead and you've got a manageable 'to do' list. End is in sight!! And if you do work in the middle of the night, I'm always here then and glad of the company.

I spent most of yesterday annotating a 20 page chapter I'd written - slow!! But I did faff around a bit. Early morning here, and today am going to work solidly and get this chapter into something I'm not ashamed of! Getting closer to the end of chapter 6!

Hope it goes well! Hello to others out there too.

User: BilboBaggins - 13 October 2009 21:18

Good luck with the chapter editing Sue. Chapter 6 eh! Sounds good. How many are you aiming for altogether? I just have 7, but I seem to recall you might have a fair number more?

Editing's going ok but I can only do it for so long, so plan to keep going for another half hour or so, and then have a break. Have something else I need to be doing as well, but have made a deal with myself that I'll tackle it after these easy edits are done. Only a few more dozen pages of detailed scribbles to work through.

User: Sue2604 - 13 October 2009 21:29

Yes, my PhD has 11 chapters (groan!!!). It used to have 12 but I decided to ditch one, so that's something! Am getting towards finishing the 5th field work chapter - then have to rewrite the previous 4 all again as I didn't know what the angle was when I wrote them! Ahh, it's a slow process. Oh well, can only go as fast as I can go.

Only a few dozen more pages of edits sounds very manageable! Make sure you build in some rewards too! Next week am going to the big city for some fun, so am going to work hard, conquer lots of work and have a bit of a break then.

Onwards!! Right, logging off to start the day. Have a good late evening!

User: BilboBaggins - 13 October 2009 22:31

======= Date Modified 13 Oct 2009 22:32:38 =======
Quote From Sue2604:

Yes, my PhD has 11 chapters (groan!!!). It used to have 12 but I decided to ditch one, so that's something! Am getting towards finishing the 5th field work chapter - then have to rewrite the previous 4 all again as I didn't know what the angle was when I wrote them! Ahh, it's a slow process. Oh well, can only go as fast as I can go.

11 chapters. Eek! Mind you I'm going to come in a bit short, so I rather envy you the extra chapters! As for the rewriting I'll shortly need to rewrite all my intros and conclusions for the chapters, to make things tie together more nicely. Seems like a never-ending process, but I'm hoping this is the last time!

Only a few dozen more pages of edits sounds very manageable! Make sure you build in some rewards too!
It's doable over a couple more nights. I managed about 15 pages tonight of very detailed corrections. My brain gets very tired after just an hour or so though and my limbs stop working as a result so I can't type any more. So have been having a rest, and will be going to bed soon. That's enough for now. Will resume maybe tomorrow or the next day.

[quote]Next week am going to the big city for some fun, so am going to work hard, conquer lots of work and have a bit of a break then.
Have fun! I'm building in lots of rewards with fun books to read. I have a bit of a backlog from my birthday last month, and before then. So I keep saying "When I've done X I'll read Y." Well that's my strategy anyway!

Bye for now.

User: teek - 14 October 2009 22:02

Anyone out there tonight? It all seems to have gone a bit quiet on the nocturnal front.

I've hit another low in my work, so I'm debating pulling a long night with coffee to push through, even though I have an early start at the lab. This way of working seems to go against all good sense and self care (my husband rapped my knuckles for my habits of excessive hours and living off whatever was in my desk drawer) but perhaps you just need that sense of intensity to work sometimes.

How does everyone else work at their thesis, do you just immerse yourself in one section at a time, or do you flit about from section to section? I'm still doing my research so I feel as if I have half a dozen poorly remembered topics mushing about in my brain, then I sit down to write and I don't know any one well enough :-s

Ok, enough self pity, lets try and start a chapter based on an existing paper, how hard can that be?

User: BilboBaggins - 14 October 2009 22:19

Hi Teek. I'm pottering about - doing more easy thesis edits. Nearly finished them, then the hard edits start!

When I was writing my thesis chapters I worked on 2 chapters at a time: 1&2, 3&6, 4&5. Then 7, the conclusions. I found it important to focus on each chapter to get it done, but wanted 2 of them at a time so I could get a little variation and not get completely bored.

Now I'm doing the final rewriting/edits stage and am working through the whole thing in a series of phases. Starting with the easy edits, then moving on to the hard ones, and so on. Very slowly. Will get there eventually!

Good luck with the working tonight.

User: teek - 14 October 2009 22:31

Hi Bilbo, thanks for the company and the advice :) two at a time seems a good plan and I think i can see just how to apply it.

I have so little drive just now I worry that by the editing stage I'll have stopped caring entirely.!Hopefully not though, hopefully I'll have some of your perseverance and be so happy to have written the bulk that I'll plow on. I think right now I'm still at the rabbit-in-headlights stage of being intimidated by it.

Good luck with the night's editing!

User: BilboBaggins - 14 October 2009 22:41

Do you have writing deadlines? When I started writing properly I agreed dates by which I'd send drafts of each chapter to my supervisor. Then had to try to stick to them. That focused the mind a lot.

Then again if you're still in the research phase that's not so crucial, but do you have other deadlines to keep things moving on?

It's the terror that motivates me :) My official university deadline is next March. Looming very soon!

User: sheena - 14 October 2009 22:45

Joining in for a few hours ..all depends on kids waking up & my sleepy eyes.

Teek, you & I are in very similar situation today..I have been so busy (domestic stuff, relative) that this week word count is zero. very frustrated with everything even with hubby who is not helping around the house. These are the boring everyday things but somehow affect my work in a major way.

Enough of that as you said Teek, let get on with writing with whatever time we have now. I made a good plan actually, couldn't even get it printed out. first thing tomorrow morning to get it printed. It was too general and didn't have a specific task for each day, have to go into detail and tick off tasks. Maybe I could finish the intro by mon (wishful thinking as only written 2 pages):-(

keep writing Teek,word by word it adds..I will stay as long as I can but have get through this initial sleepiness

User: teek - 14 October 2009 22:47

Ok now you've scared me, mine is start of June, not that much later and I've barely started!

My supervisor thinks I can write the entire thing in 2-3 months at the end, he keeps trying to extend the practical work even though he's seen how the other students with more current deadlines are struggling :-( he's the eternal optimist bless him. I tried making a GANT chart and setting my own deadlines, but everything kept changing so much (last minute research directions due to samples) that updating the chart was taking more time than anything else, lol.

You've given me a good nudge though bilbo, when he gets back next week I think I'd better have a firm chat about practical work and writing priorities.

User: teek - 14 October 2009 22:47

======= Date Modified 14 Oct 2009 22:48:28 =======

sorry, tired fingers double posted!

User: Alpacalover - 14 October 2009 22:49

Hey folks, sounds like you've all been having very good weeks! well done on all your editing Bilbo!

I'm having bit of a weird week, just with the total transition of jobs etc! was in lab last 3 days just doing odd last things and sorting out all my lab samples and desk etc! saying goodbye to people was hard, funny how you never feel appreciated while you're being worked like a horse but when you're leaving....!

Teek, it is very difficult when doing lab work to get into steady writing, but its really good that you're writing bits as you go along! how long have you got left in lab? I did bits as i worked and I think when you come out of lab at last it makes everything easier to just get into, without having completely blank pages! I finished most of lab work about 6 weeks ago and have just been going in odd weeks to complete things, all done now (its very strange!). had planned on just working at home writing full time, but just got job which start on monday so will be part time writer for a while! therefore, i'm now even more glad I did some writing, not loads but just materials and methods etc, some intro, makes a huge difference!

anyway, this week is a flop, but not stressing as for the first time in about a year i feel like a weight is off my shoulders and I can sleep and eat and be happy, so i'm making the most of it and not worrying about the writing etc! I want to enjoy this transition period into the new chapter of my life and then when all settles down i will get plowed into my writing again! Just don't have energy to do all these things at same time, feel like i've been emotionally drained for too long! (maybe just me being weak and pathetic :$)

I'm sure you'll get there soon, obviously you're working very hard but just keep at it, little bits at a time, and when lab is done you'll be so glad and proud of yourself! but also don't stress out when you sometimes don't do these things, it can't be helped and lab work can be very draining!

I have also been grouping my writing into chapters, intro and then 2/3 and 4/5 then discussion. The content is quite well meshed in these two groupings so makes my thought processes alot better and more coherent to be piecing them together as I go!

I'm off to bed, got a day of lecturing tomorrow, not sure how thats going to go but a good nights sleep should set me up nicely!

Good luck with the night train (up)

User: teek - 14 October 2009 22:53

Hi Sheena

Well given that you have kids full time (mine is just a p/t step-daughter) I think I will just shut my mouth, you definitely have more on your plate!

I know what you mean about domestics though, we're still renovating our kitchen and I am filled with guilt that I haven't added the next coat of varnish to the floor as planned. And for some reason I decided at 11pm on Monday night that I HAD to make the cake I'd promised people - because obviously that matters more than sleep/work - um, yeah.

But thank you for teh encouragement, it does indeed add up and anything is better than nothing. Tally-ho to the coffee machine!

User: teek - 14 October 2009 22:55

Thanks for the kind words alpaca, and belated congrats on the job, that's wonderful news!

A new post is a lot to juggle though on top of writing up though so no, I certainly don't think you're being the slightest bit weak or pathetic! Sleep tight and hope the lectures go well tomorow :-)

User: Sue2604 - 14 October 2009 22:56

Hi all, I'm here too.

Teek, starting with writing a chapter from an article sounds like a good place to start and doable! Jump into it! I've doine that and it is much easier than starting from scratch. I work on one chapter at a time - it does get to me but I really like the sense of satisfaction from getting a chapter done as quickly as I can (relatively speaking!), so prefer this to writing 2 at once and taking longer to finish both.

Go Sheena, have some coffee and push thru! And hi Bilbo, glad to hear it's going well and you're building up to your major edits.

I had a really productive day yesterday - worked solidly all day and night and got 18 pages rewritten. Another 4 to go and then that draft is done, will put it aside for a few days, then back to it. I find it really difficult to be inspired for 2 days in a row. A good day, then am drained. Tired today, and can't seem to write properly but also need to push thru and keep going.

Coffee for me too - it's going to be a long day...we're all making progress tho!! Keep going!!

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