Where am I now with my thesis? And where am I going?

This post is full of numbers and slightly rambling plans. Apologies. But I wanted to capture exactly where I’m at thesis-wise, before I start my sabbatical on Monday.  For posterity, and to try to stem the panic.

My application for sabbatical primarily asked for time to complete the writing up stage of my Professional Doctorate. Here’s an extract from my application:


I said I would do other things, like present at the wonderful International Journal for Clinical Legal Education Conference in Melbourne in November, and write and submit an article. But my key concern right now as I head in to sabbatical is the completion of the thesis.

Where am I now?

Good question. Personally, I have had 24 hours of hardcore anxiety that has seemingly flown in from no-where, linked to – I think – a crisis of confidence that (again) has appeared without warning.  As I documented in my recent article, I am no stranger to an anxiety flare up but this one has not been particularly fun and I have wondered whether the impending sabbatical – the rush to ‘complete’ jobs before I go and prospect of ‘unstructured’ time – has been to blame. I don’t know. It could just be one of those things.

Someone very wise once told me that feeling are not facts. So during this period, I have found it useful to look at cold, hard facts. Numbers. More specifically, word counts.

Right now, this is how my thesis looks:

Thesis data 7.9.18

If you’re confused about the Word versus Scrivener part, please have a read of this post.

The standard submission for the presentation of a Professional Doctorate at my  institution is a written thesis with an indicative word length of not more than 60,000 words. In short, I have 60k to play with.

Right now, I have 34,109 firm words. That is, words that are properly written and formatted and have been sent to my supervisors for comment.  I also, you will notice, have around 3,000 words floating about in my ethics chapter. The word count for my ethics chapter is actually over 6,000 words, but most of that comprises random ideas, notes, a few quotations, and some extracts from my earlier work to remind me what I’ve said before. I think that chapter will end up around the 7k mark.

Taking all of that into consideration, that leaves me with about 15,000 words left for my discussion chapter and about 3000 for the introduction.

Where am I going?

Good question.

Here’s the plan:

  • Complete Chapter 5 (ethics) by the end of September. I reckon this Chapter will be around 6-7k in total.
  • Write Chapter 6 (discussion) during October. I will have much less to do workwise  once September has passed, and I’m hoping I’ll find some sort of ‘rhythm’. Also need to complete this ready for my paper at IJCLE in November.
  • November: tinker with earlier Chapters, and prep paper for IJCLE. Write article and submit to journal.
  • December: Write Intro, try to bring it all together, make adjusts following supervisory comments, go on honeymoon.

I have no idea if this is ludicrously ambitious, or if I might race ahead of myself. I like looking at it on a month by month basis, however. That feels right somehow.

Weekend ahead, and then, on Monday, the fun begins. I’ll be back in the future with an update. Stay tuned.

and breathe

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