Every so often I meet with my supervisor to discuss my progress (or lack thereof) and then we brainstorm ways to get this dissertation done sooner than later. At the end of the summer we met. His suggestion was to take a week off to refresh the batteries and then get back at it. My desire was to rediscover my love of writing and continue working on the dissertation. The compromise was a temporary break from dissertating and a brief focus on tangential, but necessary academic activities like updating my CV and starting this blog. This was moderately successful; I don't blog as regularly as I might like and the dissertation meter doesn't always inch up in terms of raw and comprehensible page count, even while I'm plugging away every day.
Today we met again for a catchup and another attempt to find the right motivation. His advice was to scrap all nonessential activities and just write. My concern was that I've tried that before and it was less effective than my current strategy of balancing writing with other semi-essential activities. The busier I am, the more efficient and productive. What I hope was the most important and motivating part of our meeting was the firm deadline he suggested. His workload is heavy next term, so he wants a draft this term. External deadlines have always worked for me. In other words there's smoke coming out my ears and a fire under my butt.
So there we have it, I updated my dissertation progress page with deadlines. They are not in the least bit unreasonable, nor have any of my self-imposed deadlines previously, but this time I'm determined to make them work. I may or may not blog as frequently; we'll see if my daily page quota also leaves me time for quick updates here. I think it should, and I think focusing on positive motivation and reinforcement will get me through this final writing push. So watch that meter and send chocolate, or simply happy thoughts, any time it inches around.