For the next six weeks I will be engaged in a dissertation boot camp. I do not usually discuss my dissertation because to be quite frank I am ashamed that I still working on it these 10 years after doing my fieldwork. Yet I struggle along getting something done most years. This time I am not saying to myself that I will finish my paper in the next six weeks. I usually have very high and unrealistic goals so that I essentially set myself up for failure every time. Yes I have knocked my poor head on this wall many, many, times and have not learned my lesson. However, I think I might be in a different frame of mind this time.
One of my fellow boot campers said it best today when she stated, "I don't know anything about myself as a writer." Amen, sister! Neither do I. I have identified myself as a graduate student and yes I have written papers, loads of papers, but I have never called myself a writer. My intentions during this boot camp are to be compassionate towards myself and to explore and observe what and how it is to be a writer and to develop a writing habit. Apparently this professor, Robert Boice, does research on faculty productivity. He found that procrastinator and binge writers (hello! that's me) make tenure less often than productive writers. Well, I was never sure I would make a successful academic and apparently my bad habits are not in my favor.
Another thing I realized today is that I am a lousy project manager. To be fair to myself it never occurred to me to think of my dissertation in this way, as a project, in need of management. Duh. I am usually just focussed on my need to, or lack of, writing and that it would all come to together if I wrote something. I am always losing track of where I am and what I am doing. This also falls under being a procrastinator and unorganized. Although in class one person confessed to having her electronic files in a hot mess. She can't remember where she files her work. I do have a file system. Yay! I have also realized that parts of my dissertation are not in the first draft stage any more. Things are actually coming together and I am farther along then I give myself credit for. Why are we so hard on ourselves?
So I am giving up the critic/editor/procrastinator for a period of 6 weeks to explore new ways of writing and managing my time. This is a different headspace for me. A more open one. A curious place with room for thoughtful observation. I want to be open and willing and available to do the work. To show up and engage in the process and see what path it goes down. To explore being a writer. I will keep you posted on my new wilderness.