Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Notes on the scandal of my thesis

So I thought I was ahead of the game having written a paper a couple of years ago that I thought would be the first two-thirds of my MA thesis (which is not a dissertation and only has to be about 30 pages long). I'm writing about Dietrich Bonhoeffer and James Cone - how they understood conversion, Jesus Christ, discipleship in their historical moments. Then I'm taking the last third of the paper to do the same in our era using Elizabeth Johnson as one of my dialog partners in that section.

Turns out I need it done by April 1 to graduate with the May class. I so want to do that. I've asked for a leave of absence from my UPI Column and I'm not posting to forums or email lists during this month. I will update my blog and my photo blog because those are pleasurable breaks from writing.

Just thought you should know what's up. Yes, I'm feeling a bit intimidated suddenly. It took me far too long to write the six page paper due tonight which shook my confidence. And I still have papers to write for Doctrine 1 while I'm working on this thesis (not to mention managing my business which is really demanding right now).

Any advice for an intense writing season you can offer?


carrie said...

Not having any experience with intense writing, I can only offer you encouragement and prayer. I will be here in NC cheering you on! You can do it!

Ampersand said...

Set a small, concrete, eminently acheivable goal (that advances your overall cause). Work till goal is met. Reward oneself lavishly.

Repeat many times daily and for many days.

Rewards: laughter, chocolate, sunshine, favorite beverage, lunch with a friend or your sweetheart, Jacob's cookies, blogsurfing, Tom-Brady-viewing, NCAA Basketball, etc.

Matt said...

I like both of the previous answers: I'll actively pray for patience and success for you during these projects, and secretly pray that you get little goodies (such as those Ampersand has suggested) to see you through!

Karen said...

Decide when you work best -- morning or night (no one works best in the afternoon, do they?). Clear your block of time daily, and don't accept interruptions. Schedule your work-arounds that are unavoidable (BW registration day tomorrow, if that's one, for example) so they don't sneak up on you or you don't factor in a substantial enough "distraction effect."
I don't envy your current situation, but greatly admire your tenacity and singleness of purpose! I'm better knowing you.

Steve said...


1. Panic. Run screaming from the house dressed in a rabbit costume. This behavior will summon the authorities, who will institutionalize you. Pray then that Xavier (sp) will show mercy on you and let you walk with the rest of your class, albeit in a straight jacket.

2. Claim to have seen an image of the Virgin Mary reflected on the bumper of your visiting college-age son. This will solve two problems - how much you miss your son (since he will not be allowed to move his car and leave), and also create such a ruckas in your yard that everyone will forget about graduation. (In your case, an image of Bill Bright might work as well, athough I doubt it.)

3. Self medicate.

You choose the one that works best.

Dcn Scott Dodge said...


TiaDavidandourLittleChickens said...

You love tea, so lots of it. Me? I'd have coffee, sour patch kids, and tootsie rolls. Make sure you get enough sun and don't forget to eat REAL food at least once a day :-)

julieunplugged said...

You're all so nice. I love the rewards ideas (Tom Brady viewing! LOL)

Karen I plan to schedule the exact times and dates. You are so right. I always have to leave the house to get any serious writing done.

Steve: #1 - Check! Already done it. #2 - Creative and a good option for my Catholic university friends. #3 - Good idea!

Tea and breathing helps and thanks for all good thoughts and prayers (Esp. Matt and Carrie who definitely have better access to God than I do.)

Chuck said...

I have recently discovered the joys of dark chocolate covered espresso beans - just a few will reinvigorate you and break any cognitive logjams that might restrict creativity and thought :-)

julieunplugged said...

Chuck what a great suggestion! I love those but never even thought of the help they'd be right about now. Great idea. I'm going to buy some. Do you have a brand you prefer? I love coffee beans.


Dalissa 365 said...

OK, so I'm surprised no one has said it yet but treat it like Nanowrimo. Set daily goals. I realize research is involved but I'd still face it like Nanowrimo in that you must write "x" amount of pages a day and if you don't get your quota in cram in make up time.
And, in agreement with everyone else, constant rewards for each goal met. Good coffee, dark chocolate, English Breakfast tea, the works. OH, and it's always good to make midnight hoagie/cheesesteak sandwich runs for those late night cramming sessions... not to mentiont the fact that you could throw in a toilet papering session at Margaret's house while she's asleep... nothing like some teenage entertainment with the possibility of getting got to get the blood pumping and the creative juices flowing. ;)

Dalissa 365 said...

Oops.. .that should say,
..."getting caught", NOT getting got. ;)

Margaret said...

heh heh--tping my house--heh heh

Paula said...

I wish I had some great wisdom to offer you, but I'm afraid my only suggestion would be along the lines of Steve's. I was diagnosed with cancer and they gave me an extra year...probably not a good model though.
For me, it would be getting away from distractions and immersing myself completely in my writing, but some people work in little blocks of time.
I'm just so impressed with what you are doing/have done. I have no doubt that you are going to get this written and do it with excellence.

Chuck said...

"Choxie" is the brand of espresso beans I'm currently looking at on my desk. A teacher friend got them as freebies and passed them on to us - sweet!

Emily Oliver said...

Hey Julie- just keep writing. Bird by bird. I'm trying to finish mine, too, only I'm writing the long one. Maybe our husbands could band together and fend for themselves for dinners, etc. Just keep going. You're a great writer, and your ideas are fabulous. Just get them out there.