So, I’ve been a little bit in hiding from my committee, and in denial that I need to clue them all in to where I am at sooner rather than later. Last spring, I generally had them all up to date on where I was at and my intentions. But now, as I am really buckling down to get a full draft of every chapter before Christmas, I have not communicated with them as much as I should.
But, the fact is, that if I wait until I’ve done all this work to reach out–say the beginning of January–then its kind of too late. If they have been out of the loop for about 9 months, and then I’m like “Ok, go! I need feedback and my defense is in 3 months!” some of them might be a little blind sided.
The thing is, I would really like to reach out at the point that I have something for them to read, which I don’t. I am fine with where my drafts are at for my adviser, but not for other readers. My most developed chapter, which I am ok with committee members reading, has already received substantive feedback from one person (which I have not finished incorporating yet), so to circulate it would be kind of disingenuous because I really don’t want more comments on it at this moment. Another committee member has seen the beginnings of chapter 5, but that won’t be up to a new level of completion until December. Then there is the simple fact that I just don’t have time for a bunch of meetings.
So, what to do? I could halt my current workflow and zero in on revising something with the intent to get it out to committee members in November. But I don’t want to do that. I am making progress this way, and I really just want to have the whole thing drafted rather than one chapter that is closer to finished, but chapters left that are still figments of my imagination.
But I need to get this committee together NOW so I don’t have the stress of getting them all on the same page in the spring, when the crunch really comes. And I need to indicate to my adviser that I’ve got this under control. She has been known to force her students have big meetings with the whole committee BEFORE the defense just to make sure things are coming together. I do not want that. it is a waste of time and stress.
So … here is my plot for touching base with all committee members before the end of December without interrupting my writing schedule. if I break it down person by person, it doesn’t become this phantasm mob of people I imagine I need to appease:
Adviser: Everything is fine. Just keep up regular submissions to her, and meetings. Write the new abstract/chapter outline this week and have her give feedback.
Western/labor historian (I’m just leaving names out of this): He owes ME. He’s the one who has been MIA since we were supposed to meet over the summer, even though I didn’t pursue him very hard. So, first thing is to try to track him down. I will have him read the new abstract and chapter 1 (since that was the original plan), and really try to meet with him this semester. Make sure he understands I want to defend April 1 and that I want his input on Chapter 3 (which I might get to him in January?).
U.S. state historian: Things aren’t too bad because I met with him at the end of last spring. I will schedule a brief meeting with him and send him the new abstract. I will just get him on board with my writing schedule and plan to defend. I will intend to resubmit chapter 1 to him at some point (again, January? January is turning into a fantasy month where I manage to revise ALL the things).
Business historian: Shit. He is very willing and available. I could give him chapter 1, but then I am just passing the thing around for the sake of it, it seems. Nothing else is ready. Maybe I will e-mail him and simply let him know my plans and where I am at. I feel like he is happy to read stuff, and wants to be more involved, but it simply is not ready yet.
Feminist theorist: Things are fine here because I already update her regularly. We have an understanding she is really going to be involved with chapter 5 until we get close to the actual defense. and We have a meeting next week. So there’s no burden to give her anything to read.
Women’s historian outside reader: She’ll get something that is very polished in spring, close to the defense.
That wasn’t so bad. I am going to start executing this plan on Monday.
I love the idea of outside readers, and I keep meeting people who seem willing and a great fit, but I feel like nothing will be ready in time!!!