I’m starting to believe that there may not be such a thing, that undertaking such a task is in and of itself “crazy” and unhealthy. It certainly feels that way at times, no matter how invested I am in my education and my dissertation topic and no matter how hard a worker I am and how dedicated I normally am.
Sometimes it still seems like madness. How much time and effort you spend writing and rewriting the same thing. It’s not as though you have no help, but sometimes the help can be confusing when you have people telling you different things. Stuff eventually gets ironed out, but sometimes you feel sucked into the rabbit hole reading research that you’re no longer sure is relevant to your topic or not. Sigh.
I remember one of my committee members telling me to just trust in the process, which is great advice. It really is. But when you find it hard to trust things in general and are used to relying on yourself and no one else, that’s a tall order. It’s hard to ask for help and wait for a response and feel like you’re being a bother. I’m used to (and prefer) relying on myself. That doesn’t mean I don’t like feedback, I just like having things outlined and knowing exactly what I’m doing. Dissertation isn’t like that. It’s like you have an idea what you’re doing, but then it narrows and funnels, but you’re not the only one doing that. Sometimes what happens doesn’t completely make sense at first or things aren’t readily apparent. And I don’t like that.
You can try your best and still need a ton of revisions. You can need a ton of revisions and still have your chair say things are “good.” It’s just… been a really different process. And I guess it’s really not for the faint of heart.
I guess to make it through you’re forced to trust and rely on other people, which has definitely been a challenge for me. And I realize that has nothing to do with them and everything to do with me. Everyone has been amazing and nothing but helpful. I’m just tired of feeling like I’m flailing and don’t know what I’m doing most of the time. That gets old really fast.
I guess the only other tip I can offer is to break down your writing. Create an outline, get that approved, and then work in sections so things are more manageable and you can organize your ideas better.