As of yesterday, I am a thesis machine and only a thesis machine.
No teaching, no guest lecturing; I’m all about the thesis and the writing of the thesis, baby.
I am, frankly, a bit scared. The endgame looks to be a mammoth undertaking; not only do I need to finish this chapter but I need to write an introduction and a conclusion to another and then, once those two not inconsiderable tasks are complete, rewrite all those chapters which feature out of date terminology, repetition and unclear prose.
Which is everything.
So, as of today, I am thesis and only thesis.
Roll on March and my final draft.
This week has been all about getting the rough draft of the thesis into some semblance of a final product.
It has been a rather productive affair.
LaTeX has some rather useful features, most of which I’ve not been using. Cross-referencing, the use of the \include command, automagical page numbering… Now, given that this is the final year, these are the kind of things that it would be useful to start inputting now so as to save me time and effort in three months time. Luckily, I’ve been somewhat aware of this need for the last two years, so I’ve been marking what needs to cross-references to what. Still, that was a lazy solution; to paraphrase Wodehouse, it would have been the work of a moment to have done it properly from the beginning.
Mostly, though, I’ve been rewriting. Last week it was chapter 2, which presents my definition of that most amorphous of things, the conspiracy theory. The original chapter. written about two years ago, turned out to be almost risibly out of touch with subsequent chapters; issues I thought would be important at the time have turned out not to be. For example, I thought I would make a lot out of the distinction between ‘narrow’ and ‘wide’ notions of the endgoal of conspiracy theories, but it turns out one of my footnotes was right; it’s just a definitional game that really ends up doing the discourse no favours.
Which brings me to this week. Chapter 2 used to be chapter 3, but the original chapters 1 and 2 seem to do almost exactly the same job. I need to unify them.
Which may well be the best thing ever. At the moment I have 94,000 words in my thesis and it’s not meant to be any more than 100,000. I’ve not written the final chapter or the conclusion, so I need to start finding things to cull. Two introductions is a good place to start, but I’m going to need more. Luckily, that chapter on the transmission of conspiracy theories has a lot of dead wood in it.
More news as it comes to hand.
And so it came to pass that he entered the last year of his PhD…
I’m hoping that by this time next year that statement has been proven to be true, but, even if it hasn’t, this is the year the serious work of writing the final chapter and editing, editing, editing, begins.
Well, it should. I’ve done diddly-squat, really, since the 1st of January; I did reorganise my file directory and created new LaTeX files for the ‘2010’ folder. I also investigated ConTeXt and Docbook to see if they offered any advantages over LaTeX (this is the time of year where I arbitrarily change things, just to see what happened; I almost changed the blog layout totally twice on the 2nd), but they do not.
And now I’m writing a blogpost. In fact, to delay doing work even further I’m going over to the Library to look at the latest issue of ‘Uncensored,’ which has another Celtic New Zealand article.
Then I might get to work on revising the second-to-last chapter.