I'm ashamed to admit it, but I have been working on the fourth chapter of my dissertation for over six months. The preceding chapters each took an average of four months, and I've blown right past that. It feels especially overdue because I submitted the last chapter on December 30, 2015, and so my committee has not received anything new from me in 2016. I did spend a month this summer working on an article draft, and several months in the winter were spent revising earlier chapters, so I have made progress in other ways. Nonetheless, I'm uncomfortable with the pace I've been on and with my delinquency in delivering work to my committee.
Today, however, I had a realization--one that has been quietly dawning for some time, but which finally flamed out into the wide open air at 11:00 AM this morning.
In over six months of work, I have generated a lot writing. Even as it has amassed, I've mostly felt burdened by how much still remains to be done. At some point, I began to suspect that I already had a monster, and it was not done growing. I tried not to worry about, and stayed committed to my original plan.
This morning, I decided that there was just no way that I could fit two topics as big, broad, and deep as the Urban Crisis and the War on Poverty into one chapter. Although they are intimately related, the JCC movement responded in different (though not contradictory) ways to the destruction and rebuilding of their urban surroundings.
Once I pulled the trigger and separated the chapter into two, I felt an immense relief. My monster baby has been transformed into fraternal twins, different from one another but obviously of a pair. More reassuringly, I have written TWO chapters so far this year, each averaging about four months! There's still more work to do, but a burden has lifted.