Steve Tilston

Steve Tilston (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday afternoon I sent off first draft of my first chapter to my supervisors.  It’s been a tough week, as on Monday evening I was really struggling to make the chapter work because it had just evolved out of my notes.  I couldn’t get the separate bits of the chapter to hang together – it was just some chunks of text that could have been completely separate entities if they weren’t all on the same page.  A frantic call to a friend about the disorganised nature of my work resulted in some very good advice.  “Write down the points you want to make on index cards, then arrange them into order.”  How right he was.  So I spent Monday evening juggling index cards.

On Tuesday morning I started with 12 index cards, a blank document and  heavy heart.  I got some blue tac and stuck the index cards to a convenient bit of blank wall next my desk, and  stuck a couple of post-it notes on to a few of them to remind me where I had found evidence to back them up.  By Tuesday afternoon, I had 5000 words.  Okay, so not all of them by any means were completely new and original for the new document, but the opening few paragraphs were, and I’d made substantial alterations to the bits that I had copied and pasted in from the old notes.  A first draft was ready for proofreading by Thursday afternoon, so I had a night out!  I took the family to see Steve Tilston at Garstang Unplugged, and we all had a lovely evening.

Friday morning I spent proofreading and making alterations, then in the afternoon I fiddled with the footnotes and bibliography.  I sent it off mid-afternoon, having reached about ten thousand words somewhere along the way.  It’s interesting, because not long ago I commented to a friend that I hadn’t ‘planned’ a piece of work in years.  Everything had just, sort of, evolved out of my research and seemed to come out okay.   This is partly because I never knew exactly what I wanted to say until I was saying it.  But this time it just didn’t work, perhaps because my command over the material was not quite as confident.

I have to say I’m not entirely happy with the end result.  It’s probably the chapter I’m going to find most difficult, as it is the most interdisciplinary, looking at the similarities and differences between art music, from church and court, and the popular music of the ballads.  I’m a bit worried about how my music specialist is going to react to it and I’m certain that my other supervisors are going to find plenty of stylistic problems too.  All in all, I’m quite nervous about my supervisory meeting next week.  Between now and then, I’m going to do some more reading on reader reception theory because I borrowed some books from a very nice German teacher at the university at the beginning of the year and it really is time I took them back!  I also have a conference paper proposal I need to write, as the call for papers closes this week.

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