I am working on my dissertation proposal.
Or so I say. I haven’t really written much. But, that should all change this week. This week, I start writing. Up until that point, I’ve been Thinking. I’ve been in the Thinking Stage.
For me, this stage often takes up the most amount of time in my process. For a lot of people, writing happens through drawn out processes, while for me it all sort of happens in one giant jolt. My comprehensive exams were that way, I spent an hour reading the question, jotting an outline…then all of a sudden I looked up and I had written 10 pages in two hours.
In this case, I have been surrounded by this research project for years. I was given access to the St. Mary’s City project the summer after I started graduate school, in 2007. I’ve written a good deal about it already: a couple research proposals, two conference presentations, a comprehensive report. This is the collection process: gathering the info. Collecting the data. Seeing the pieces, but not how they fit together.
But since I gave the paper at SHA, I haven’t done much writing. I’ve been taking some notes, talking with my advisor, scribbling a little on a white board. Trying to see what fits and what doesn’t. I’m in the Thinking Stage.
The Thinking Stage is an important part of the process for me. This is when I gather my thoughts. Start connecting the pieces that I have collected. This is when the creative process occurs: when two seemingly unrelated objects are connected, or linked, together. This is the fun part. Sometimes this happens in a flow chart, or an outline, or on the back of a napkin. It’s the best part. It’s when it all comes together.
I have some good news: the Thinking Stage is nearing a close. The pieces have begun to come together.
So, this week, I write. See you on the other side.
How about you? What is your process? Do you have an equivalent stage?