Saturday, January 14, 2012

getting started

Dear readers, I must offer my apologies for not posting as much as I'd like to lately. As some of you know, I have only two quarters of grad school left until I graduate--hurray! That is exciting news. The less exciting part is that I am right in the middle of writing and producing my thesis this quarter! I suppose that's actually really exciting when you think about it, but it doesn't feel that way when you're in the middle of it.

What does "writing and producing" my thesis mean, exactly? I feel like I should explain it a little more, since every degree is different. Since I'm getting my masters degree in fine art, that means I'll produce a body of art work to be shown in a group exhibition in April with my colleagues. The written part of the thesis is the paper I write about that body of art. The hardest thing is working on the art and the paper at the same time! Since my program is so short (2 years) it's almost impossible to escape this overlap. The best thing is that I'll be done by spring quarter and can spend that last quarter making awesome work while not being super stressed out!

Coming up on January 30th, I have a review with my thesis committee (three of my professors). At that time, I am expected to be done with the first draft of my written thesis, and have in-progress pieces to show of the visual thesis. I was not in a huge hurry to start the written part for several reasons:

1. It's a paper and who gets in a hurry to start those? (Duh.)
2. I wanted to know exactly what my visual body of work would be before writing anything (less revising necessary this way).
3. It's not super long like you may be varies from person to person but my committee head advised me to aim for around 25-30 pages.

Yesterday, I finally got things in gear and started writing! The first page is always the hardest, isn't it? It is for me. Luckily, I made an outline to go by a few months ago, so I didn't have to worry about that before starting the actual writing process.

To help things along, I employed the writing method of my friend Sarah of Desirous of Everything. Sarah is an awesome YA fiction writer and is currently working on a manuscript. To stay on task, she makes calendars which she fills with stickers for each day that she reaches her goal of writing 500 words (which is every day, because she is so awesome at sticking to her plan!). I made a similar calendar on the wall above my desk for myself by dividing up my thesis into 15 2-page writing days. Today was day 2, and I have over 4.5 pages written! For each page I complete, I mark my progress with a sticker. It really does help me to look at the wall and know how much I have done and how much is left, and to see that I'm making progress. As long as I stick to my schedule, I'll be done with my draft in just 13 more days! How exciting. It's going to be nice not procrastinating and writing 30 pages the night before the draft is due...I mean...uh, not that I would do that... (I kid, I wouldn't write 30 pages in one night...but I would definitely procrastinate a big chunk without these mini daily goals).

I'll try to make more posts about what I've been up to lately! I just need to remember to carry my camera with me to document things. Once the thesis madness is over, I have huge plans for this blog and my Etsy store. I wish I had more time to put in sooner, but realistically I know I just don't. I really need to focus most of my attention on school for now. I'm glad a deadline is in sight, though! Until then, I'll make updates here about school and I hope you'll find them interesting.


Sarah O'Holla said...

Yesssss! This is so exciting! So glad to have inspired you. You can do it! Adorable stickers by the way too!

Sarah said...

I totally understand the thesis craziness! I finished my masters degree in landscape architecture last spring. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, and probably among the most rewarding, too! Good luck to you! I know that my stress and busy-ness and craziness are all recorded on my blog. Can't wait to see/read more about your work!

It's Me, Tamara! said...

Ah, good luck to you! Sometimes I still have thesis anxiety dreams, ten years later. You will do amazing, especially employing Sarah's method!

edisonrex said...

So nice to see you rocking Sarah's sticker method!

I was a bit of a thesis procrastinator and I don't recommend it! I ended up rushed at while I got an A, I definitely didn't feel super proud of the final result.

uccella said...

I always thought I would quite procrastinating by the time I finished college...nope. Sarah's sticker idea is stellar! I should put that into practice someday.

Keep the school updates a-comin', it's great to keep up with you through your work.

Rosa said...

What an awesome idea! I have a huge ESL project due in August and I am going to have to do this to help keep me on task!