Friday, April 6, 2007

Dissertation Crunch Disease

You know you're writing a dissertation when it seems that the most important thing you can do when you wake up is to catalogue your symptoms.

I know I've alluded before to digestive changes. But how's this for craziness? Right after I was done at school for the day, I met up with Similarly-Neurotic Fun Friend at a coffeehouse and worked. Okay, really I putzed around because I felt these unbelievable waves of distraction and sleepiness. It was weird. I couldn't concentrate. But then I talked through some of the problems I've been having with Chapter 4 with SNFF and then we left the coffeehouse and went our separate ways. I was going to go home, when I had the unbelievably wonderful idea of getting an apple cider. Then I went home and did something inconceivable. I worked. It was already 10pm! I worked until 11:45, then turned off the light and went to bed. (Okay, you've got to understand that up until two nights ago, I never did this before. Normally, when not afflicted with Dissertation Crunch Disease, I watch movies. I don't work after 9pm. I'm near-fanatical in my defiance of normalcy which says that you shouldn't start a movie after 10 if you ever want to get up in the morning. Mostly, because I don't want to wake up in the morning. I like to show up to the day a bit late, sauntering in like I own the place.)

So what I'm saying is that the past two nights I've been in bed by midnight, no movie. Sick. I don't even want to watch a movie.

But then there's the worst part. (I know, how could anything be worse than a film buff like me ignoring Blockbuster Tuesday Release night!) I woke up at 2am.

Yes, you can take a minute to register the shock. I took two-and-a-half hours of lying in bed trying not to disturb the cat, who was adorably sleeping on the pillow I was using. (We shared. It was a Kodak moment.) So I've had two hours of sleep. I'm awake, but altogether stupid if this blogpost is any indication.

(Can I just say that Mr. Tabby did nothing but whine and grump (the verb form this time) when I turned on the light? Now he's protesting the light, curled up with his paws crossed in front of his eyes, wheezing because his paws are also over his nose.)

I realize this insomnia and virtual craziness (no movies! come on!) are merely symptoms of the stress of DCD, but this isn't good. I was invited out to a bowling night tonight with Hate-Filled Dissertator and a bunch of her Amazing Friends, but I can't get myself to commit to going. What will I talk about from inside the deep of Chapter 4?

So here's what I need to do today:
  • Print out Chapter 4 and start going through it to see main themes and maybe hotspot underdeveloped points.

  • Do editing job I said I'd have done today which I was despairing of until I woke up at 2am and now realize I'll have plenty of time.

  • Start read-for-hire work I said I'd do before Dissertation Crunch started, but which pays and therefore must be done.

  • Read for Cool Class and post on BB.
I wonder if I'll even be awake by the time bowling comes around.


post-doc said...

I remember that at some point while writing my dissertation, I decided that all I wanted to do was finish the stupid thing. So yay for motivation coming - whatever the source. I hope the chapters continue to come along for you.

Nik said...

Your late-night work habits are just like mine. Usually, by 7, I have a glass of wine to say, that's it, day's over. But I'm beginning to think I may have to turn into a night worker (oo, sounds sexy) to get everything I need to done. Maybe I could at least shoot for nine as you seem to manage.

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