Thursday, February 27, 2014

500 words a day

I hoped I could have updated my blog a bit more lately, but besides me writing my thesis, not much is going on here. In the last two weeks I finished two jars of peanut butter, I visited four museums, ended up having a look at a climbing hall with some Lithuanian teens and I've been eating pretty much the same dish every day, consisting of pasta, chicken, unions, paprika, jalapenos and some exotic but in Scandinavia-made spices with a fair hint of thick Lithuanian sour cream. I also discovered that from the inside I might be quite a good person. Yesterday the fire alarm went off in the dormitory and when I noticed the third floor was covered in smoke the first thing I did was running back up to the fifth floor in order to get my roommate Yi. Luckily nothing bad happened. The reception guy who still thinks I'm Swedish told me it had to do something with the stoves in the kitchen which were all turned on. Something somehow went wrong there. It is always fascinating how people do not take fire alarms serious and how incredibly long it takes before people head down stairs. Almost kind of imaginable when a false alarm often occurs, but still. The first thing I did afterwards was checking my emergency route in case I'd once need it. There is a tree standing straight next to my window so that would surely brake one's fall. Let's hope nobody ever needs this escape route though.

 At the museum of Lithuanian literature for children

So, in the end some things did happen, but what I actually wanted to write about is my thesis writing rule. I only have one. At the moment I can't tell yet if it's really effective, but the results after the first two weeks look promising. Normally I don't face any problems to write long blog posts, e-mails or what so ever, but thesis writing is something else. Academic writing is just not that much my cup of tea. It's really difficult not to put some jokes inside my texts and to keep personal little side notes away from all this serious looking stuff. My rule thus became: 500 words a day keeps the thesis stress away. With 500 words and one-and-a-half line spacing you fill up just a little more than one page. This seems like a piece of cake, 'just' a page a day. Yet, it's not as easy as it might look like. Imagine how much literature you have to go through before you can actually write something useful... So, besides the writing there is a fair portion of reading involved as well. I started off my thesis process with two weeks of non-stop browsing for useful articles and books. When I got a clearer idea on which works would be most important for my research I implemented my rule. This blue paper is a reminder hanging straight above my desk. At the thirteenth I had a long chat with my supervisor about my thesis structure, but then, ever since I managed to cross off my daily 500 words quota. 

The rule, THE flag of THE ice skating nation of the world, some Finnish illustrations, my red envelope from the Chinese New Year celebration and an old postcard depicting Kaunas.

My thesis has to be in between 50 and 70 pages long, so if I manage to continue like this I'll hopefully not get into trouble the last few days before the deadline. Let's see if I'll still be as enthusiastic about it all after the evaluation about my theoretical framework. One thing is for sure, this thesis writing didn't make me so much more willing to finish my educational career with a PhD. Not now. Maybe later. Or not. Another conclusion of this week: Dutch peanut butter is way more tasty than Polish peanut butter.

(See, way over 500 words in the few minutes I spent to write this blog post; wish it would go that fast with my thesis!)

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