I believe the world is divided into two types of people: those who make lists and those who don't. If you're one of the latter and have just read Andrea Lord's article, you will be quaking in your boots at the very thought that thesis writing could entail this amount of organisation. Nonlistmakers know that these organisational methods make a lot of sense. It's just putting it into practice that they find daunting.
I'm convinced that there is a gene for listmaking, and mine is either missing or mutated. My husband, on the other hand, not only has the gene, but it seems to be linked to a promoter sequence that is permanently set to "on." As long as I have known him (and it's a long time), he has been making lists and even admits, "I make lists about lists." Opposites do indeed attract! I even bought him a book entitled The Book of Lists once, such was my amazement with this obsession.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against listmakers. I'm just not convinced that it is possible to become one if it isn't an inherent trait. You see, listmakers are intrinsically organised people whose brains think linearly and who get to their goals as the crow flies. Nonlistmakers are intrinsically disorganised people, whose brains think randomly and who reach their goal after a few delays and wrong turns (but we do get there). Believe me, I have tried very hard over the years to become a listmaker and have even occasionally succeeded in crossing off the list of tasks for the day. Sadly, more often than not, I either forget or lose it. I never make shopping lists for exactly this reason. Hubby has found the perfect way around my inability to make lists: He makes them for me. You've got to admire his persistence.
What I'm trying to say is, producing lists for writing your thesis is a great idea and will undoubtedly increase your productivity, but if you fall into the slightly chaotic, nonlistmaker personality type, THERE IS STILL HOPE.
I can say this quite categorically because 10 years ago I did it--without the aid of lists or Windows software and with the added bonus of a 2-year-old child who provided no end of distractions from thesis writing. Had I made lists, they would only have ended up in the slot for the video or down the toilet (the favoured places for my toddler to dispose of all items of value). So if I managed it, SO CAN YOU. This assertion is not based on false modesty but on the reality that I don't have a great track record in finishing what I've started. Witness piles of half-read books at the side of my bed and shelved attempts at curtainmaking, not to mention uncompleted Next Wave articles.
So, what hope is there for the habitual procrastinator (who, ironically, has a list of excuses as long as their arm why they will start writing their thesis tomorrow rather than today)?
Remember that everyone finds the thought of penning the Ph.D. tome rather frightening, and most people procrastinate over starting, continuing, or finishing. Thesis writing is a multiskilled task, so it has a challenging element for anyone, depending on his or her particular strengths and weaknesses. Everybody has his or her own ideas on how and where to get started. My only advice is to start on the area you find least scary. If you enjoy researching the literature, collating information, and writing, start with the introduction. If you're a bit of a data head and like analyzing and number crunching, then head straight for the results section. If you're good on attention to detail, then begin with the methods section. (Previous theses from your department may help you collate this information quickly.)
Having gained momentum, you may be ready to tackle the bits you're not so keen on. So, don't waste any more time on self-help books, the witterings of motivational gurus, or advice from smug postdocs. Do read Andrea Lord's sensible advice, and to prove that you can teach an old dog new tricks, here is a LIST of reasons for completing that Ph.D.:
After a six month break, I've finally got another one for those interested. Like the last one I made, this is from Naruto. I'm not as much of a fan of the tv show or the manga as I used to be. Limited funds and limited time due to dissertation writing has helped make that possible. But I still follow Naruto closely. I get faint hints of what is going on in the most current issues being published in Japan, but the story as being published right now in the United States is already all well-known and old-news to me.
I still enjoy translating them though and have at least two more issues that I've already written, but have to get set up before releasing them. I'm looking for other titles to start working on. Its just that some of my favorites have proven to be very difficult to translate, either because they use alot of specialized terms (such as Hikaru no Go) or are incredibly violent (such as Berserk). But, we'll see.
For instance, how would you translate into Chamorro, the phrase and idea of "The Three Great Shinobi?" The first step was that since there are three sets of numbers in Chamorro, English, Spanish/Chamorro and lastly Chamorro, the usage of them could be infused with certain social meaning. To in order to indicate high status or a position of great class, I decided that instead of simply saying the "Tres" Shinboi, I would use the older Chamorro number for three, tulu. This is the case with all languages, that titles, in particular those imbued with grandness or reverence are often comprised of arcane or outdated terms, which because of their rare or limited usage in everyday speech, help to recreate that grandness or that elevation above the ordinary.
For a term such as shinobi, since Chamorros don't really have ninja of which to speak of, and I simply didn't want to chicken out and use "ninja" or "shinobi" I would have to choose from a number of potential ways to translate this. The most obvious ways would be to pick a similar occupational title found in Chamorro, such as guerrero for "warrior" or "mimimu" for "fighter" or sindalu for "soldier." None of these, and a handful of other potentials satisfied me.
In translating this word, I decided to go against any literally translation, and instead create a new using a Chamorro prefix that generally indicates greatness or high social status "maga'" For those familiar with Chamorro maga' is a prefix heard very often, in particular in the terms maga'lahi and maga'haga, and possibly the Chamorro word for boss "ma'gas." Maga' is added to a word to create a label meant to elevate a particular person from that particular group. So maga'lahi and maga'haga, in times past were both terms given to the highest ranking son or daughter in a clan.
As the Hokage is the highest ranking ninja in the village, he would therefore be the boss or the most elevated of ninjas. Without a direct or simple translation for ninja, I therefore had to find adjectives or verbs that described what ninjas did such as, hatme, puno', sikat, kunanaf, keha. The verb I eventually settled on was kahat, which means to stalk, hunt or sneak. To me that fit best what a ninja is supposed to do, and it also sounded best when I added the maga' to it. So the term I used in my fanslations for Hokage is Maga'kahat.
The translating of this issue into Chamorro gave me plenty of opportunities like this to be creative with the Chamorro language in order to capture and describe certain types of slangy phrases, or even take on how to translate specialized terms in Naruto for magic or fighting styles. I mas ya-hu na pinila'-hu gi este na kamek, my favorite translation for this comic has to be "ha gosne i gifan-na." for "he shed his skin!" I seriously never, ever (and this is mainly because of my limited usage of Chamorro due to a stagnant circle of fellow Chamorro users in the US), thought that I would ever have to actually say. It was actually amusing looking up the words to try and say it.
As usual, if you are interested in checking out this fanslation or any of my others, just put a comment on this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send it to you. Si Yu'us Ma'ase. Put fin, sa' Berserk ha', i manga na todu tiempo hu gof nanangga yan gof taitaitai, buente ayu i otro na bai hu pula' gi fino' Chamoru.