I am over 1/4 done my thesis (close to 1/3) by the word count and I am inching closer to the end of part 1 (of 3) of my thesis. Statistically that is pretty good - considering I have over 2 months left until it has to be posted.
And yet it feels like I am just getting close to the end of a very small bit of the thesis; it feels like I have yet to say anything new or analytical... the section left to write in part 1 is the most important as I now need to make the leap from ecological frameworks and understanding to looking at human/social systems... the grounding and the framework I need to establish in order to get to the application part of my thesis (climate change and farming communities in East Central Alberta)...
I would liken the feeling I am having is like having hiked uphill on a path that many others have walked before - and then looking back and thinking, "I've only gotten THIS far and it has been THAT long?" And then looking at all that is stretching in front of you and wondering if you have enough time and space to do it all.
Yet - I know that if I haven't and don't continue along the process I am in, the next sections won't contain the insight or depth I am looking for - that I am looking for not just for a thesis document to hand in but for the kind of work I want to be doing post-thesis.
So I am turning off the word counter because I know if I keep on working at the pace I am, it is not going to be about having enough words: I am going to have plenty to edit and piece together. It is about the learning, the insights and the internalising of the ideas and that process (for me) is taking words from books, running them through my head and bringing them back out on paper.
All this sounds pretty obvious because - why would I be doing it if it wasn't for the learning? But trust me, after almost three months of reading, research and writing - one begins to wonder what you are doing it all for, what added value you are bringing through the time and effort, and if you are getting anywhere. So it's good to remind yourself of the process as well as focussing on the part you are in.