Time to Start Reading for My Thesis, a lesson in stress (mis)management

*Jaws Music* Dun dun dun dun  . . . Time to start reading. I’ve been working steadily on the first draft of my novel over the past few months and have knocked out a substantial chunk — I made it to 63k this week, which is a monstrous number of words if you ask me. I still have 6 or 7 chapters to go, so I imagine the word count will probably hit 90k (holy shit!). I’m going to have it “done” by the end of this semester (which means I gotta get to gettin’), but in the meantime I also have been writing my rationale and working on my reading list.

For those of you who aren’t pretentious graduate students, allow me to explain. In order to receive my degree, I have to write a thesis. That’s pretty common. In my program, we also have to have a rationale — a one-page summary of reasons why you are writing what you are and why you’ve put certain books on your reading list (which includes 50 titles). For the past couple weeks I’ve been struggling to qualify my fantasy/steampunk novel in terms of theme, style, form, etc. and make it coherent/intelligent enough that the Graduate Committee says, “Okay, that doesn’t sound stupid. You can go ahead and write that shit.”

What I love about this reading list is that there are books on here that I have been meaning to read for a long time. For instance, Frank Herbert’s Dune. I figure I can’t be a weird fiction writer without some working knowledge of this puppy. Another book I’m excited to finally read: The Poisonwood Bible. I’ve heard a lot about it but never had the chance to read it. Also Vampires in the Lemon Grove.

I’m going to post my full reading list on this site under “What I’m Reading” so that followers can read along with me, and I will also probably write reviews/thoughts/commentary on the books. This is for your benefit, but also for mine — as I will be “tested” on these things, and forcing myself to write about them now will help me in the long run when it comes time to study.

If this sounds stressful, it’s because it is. I have to read 50 books in less than that number of weeks and also write my own book, while doing schoolwork and being married and looking for a job and and and and. And drinking. Somebody pour me a margarita because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Hope you’re hanging onto your girdles. Dun dun dun dun . . .


Published by Liz

I'm a writer living and working in Cincinnati, OH. I've been writing for ages and ages. Somehow now I'm actually getting someone to pay me to do it.

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