Wednesday, 19 August 2015

3-Month Update

In Numbers: 
Thesis words written: 7147
Non-academic conferences attended: 3
Supervisions attended:3
Crochet/Knitting projects finished: 4

In Words
If the relationship between me and my research were a romantic one, I would describe the first six months as the awkward first few dates. You meet this person and they seem promising. You’re at the very early stages of getting to understand them. How do you approach them?  How much time should you spend together? How should you spend your time together anyway? How do they fit into your life?

Over the last three months, my relationship with my thesis has had a lot of competition: attending two conferences; speaking at another; settling into a new city and a new flat; new hobbies and social groups; hosting family and friends. Some weeks, my thesis and I don’t get to spend much time together. 

But (and mainly because it’s an abstract concept, but I’m really enjoying anthropomorphising it) my thesis has remained loyal. It’s accepted my cancellations, it’s accepted my mind being elsewhere when we are together, and it’s waited for me to get back to it.

And when I’ve got back to it, we’ve done a lot together. I’m becoming more aware of what work patterns enable me to be most productive; I’m exploring ways that help me to write more effectively; I’m reflecting on where I need to deepen my understanding (social history, I’m looking at you).

So, here's how I've progressed on my goals from last time:

  • Finish reading my primary texts. With hindsight, this was FAR too ambitious a goal. I've managed 25 texts out of 41. I'm over halfway there with a few long pieces to go.
  • Draft a paper proposal for Gender and Medieval Studies. Work in progress: I have ideas, but they need shaping to better reflect the themes of the conference. Something to discuss with my supervisors.
  • Continue to blog once a week. With the exception of two weeks, I've managed this. I'm now starting to plan posts ahead of time, so this should enable me to keep it up. I want to review whether once a week is sustainable in the long term, though.
  • Write a blog post that gets a comment. Not yet. But this blog has now had 1100 page views in 3 1/2 months. (Thank you!)
  • Sign up for Parenthood and Childhood in the Middle Ages. This is looking increasingly unlikely partly for budgetary reasons, and partly because of another commitment.
 Looking Forward: November 2015 
  1. Finish my primary reading. No, really. I'm going to do it this time.
  2. Decide on my next research goal. Getting through the primary reading has been my main goal. Once this is done, I anticipate I'll feel at a bit of loss. So I want to have a plan in place before November.
  3. Send out a call for papers for a conference I’m organising. I am very excited to be organising a conference this early on in the process. More to follow.
  4.  Hit 2,000 page views on this blog. I want this blog to be a place for discussion and for community. I have big ambitions for this space: why not pursue them?

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