I’m organizing myself to finish up the production stages on the History of the Ancient World while also turning around to face the next big project. This is a complicated arrangement. For one thing, the production stuff I have to finish up is not terribly exciting: I’m working to finish drawing the maps so that we can have rough drafts by the end of February, I have to write for all the permissions to quote other people’s books, I have to locate photos for the illlustrations and also get permissions for those, I need to get the MS out to a few expert readers to check up on a couple of sections that are way out of my own areas of knowledge…etc.
Meanwhile, I want to get my dissertation drafted out so that I can defend it in the fall. The challenge here is that I could probably finish up the production work on the book fairly quickly if I devoted all my work time to it, but it’s so depressing to do only non-writing work day after day. So I’m trying to balance out a certain amount of production work every week while also getting back to my dissertation.
THIS is difficult because I tend to be an obsessive worker–when I start on one particular project, I have trouble thinking about anything else. And I also over-research to a really horrendous degree. I ended up writing 500,000 words on the History of the World and then cutting it in half, which is not something I can afford to do on my dissertation–I just don’t have the time.
So I’ve adopted a couple of new strategies. I’m scheduling my work time so that I alternate days on the dissertation and on production work–this wastes a certain amount of time, since I have to re-orient myself at the beginning of each work period, but it should keep me from losing my mind. Also I’m taking a different approach to my disssertation. I’ve outlined the entire thing on a single piece of paper:
Now I’m going to do a limited amount of research on each chapter, do a very rough draft of the whole thing, submit it to my advisor, and then devote additional attention only to those parts which she feels are lacking. That way I can avoid doing a year’s research on each chapter, which is my natural impulse. I’ll let you all know how this goes.
In the meantime, work on the Chicken Shed continues. My father built a custom door, since the doorway is a non-standard size, and it is magnificent–here he is, along with my husband, trying it out:
And the inside is almost ready for painting. I’m thinking I’d like to go with a color other than white: any suggestions?
I should be able to start moving into the Chicken Shed by March. Which would be a very good thing, considering the new source of noise in my house.