Yup, you read that right. My massive summer to-do list has been conquered. Given that it’s been almost a month since my last check-in, it’s really exciting to have good news to report. Here’s the Awesome List of Success:
Day Job: I wrote my Very Big Paper, which ended up being 45 pages on the history of Catholic sisters in the United States during the nineteenth century. Next, I finished the Paper From Hell, a 16 page paper on conduct literature that included lots of social theory and more big words than you can shake a stick at. And Tuesday night I hammered out a 3.5 page dissertation mini-proposal, complete with some preliminary research questions and a tentative chapter outline. Add in the 6 hours of archival research I’ve been doing each week, and you have one very, very vanquished to-do list.
Now that all the hard work is out of the way, I can head back to Santa Barbara and meet with my dissertation committee next week for my “little conversation,” the final requirement that I need to advance to doctoral candidacy. Accomplishing that means that I’ve jumped all the institutional loopholes — coursework, papers, and all that jazz. In other words, the only thing standing between me and my PhD is the dissertation.
Writing: I didn’t get a chance to talk about this, since I’ve been stuck in the writing cave for the last few weeks, but I did end up winning Camp NaNoWriMo. STRANGE BEDFELLOWS is the poster child for the zero draft, with plotholes wider than the Grand Canyon, inconsistent characterization, and a million other problems, but I think there’s a fairly strong skeletal structure underneath it all. And, you know, it’s like 66k long, and I can’t complain about that.
For fun, and to keep up my writing momentum, I thought I’d try out my first round of Fast Drafting with a nugget of an idea that’s been nagging at me for a few months. (Yes, I am an overachiever. And yes, I am quite clearly a glutton for punishment.) I’ve fallen off the Fast Draft train over the last couple of days, derailed by migraines, the Paper From Hell, and my dissertation mini-proposal, but I am going to try to get back on track over the next day or two. Right now this little project (tentatively titled SOMEWHERE IN THE WEST) has a little over 17k — nowhere near my original goal, but still pretty awesome.
Exercise: I really fell off the wagon in terms of eating well and exercising, but my mom and I have a new plan that we have been implementing for the last couple of weeks. We are now walking 5 days a week, a minimum of 2 miles each day, and we’ve eliminated all the sweet, sugary things from the grocery list. I’m seeing a tiny difference, which will hopefully become a much larger difference in the weeks to come.
Social Media: My blog reading and commenting has been sporadic, I’ve been pretty quiet on Twitter, but I’ve been hanging out on Facebook a little more often. I’ve got a few blog posts drafted, so I might be able to start blogging again in October. This, of course, depends on whether or not I can have some time to unwind and chill out.
At the moment, my most immediate goal is to deal with my “little conversation” next week, and then to spend the rest of September doing nothing but gorging myself on novels, naps, and video games. I will also be carving out time to blog-hop and respond to comments, something that has been next to impossible with my brain all messy and overwhelmed, and my internal settings set to so-anxious-can’t-even-breathe.
So yay! How is everyone doing? I’ve missed you all a ton! This ROWnd is winding down, but I’m hoping to wave at all my fellow ROWers in the days to come.