Saturday, 30 May 2009

The Night Before I Was Free

Sunday 17th May, 9:15pm

After hearing woeful tales of the difficulty of getting a seat in the Bedford Library, even at night, I have instead imprisoned myself in the postgrad common room. This is the final push – I shall be working with very little in the way of a break for the next 21 hours, and then I will hand in this nightmare. I am alone, naturally. I shouldn’t really be in here. It’s a little frightening and a little exciting – someone may burst in at any moment: either security staff or, indeed, one of the boisterous males on the corridor, or, more alarmingly, the people who use this room illegally and leave unnerving traces of themselves. Last year we had terrible trouble with smokers. Today I came in and someone had arranged the chairs as makeshift beds. There is an empty suitcase in the corner. This very familiar room has become eerie, even though it isn’t yet night. Still, I can have tea and coffee, and I brought microwave food. It’s all a bit of an adventure.

Kerry will be here in twelve hours, and then I will have to work elsewhere until noon, when we’ll polish this thing off. Before noon, I need to have this thing written and mostly edited. It’s scary stuff. I have a checklist of the specifics.

4854 words written.


5028 words. Time for a cup of tea, methinks.


5222 words. Hope to finish the Christianity section by midnight, and will then have a little break.


5435 words. This section has 200-word paragraphs for some reason.


5596. Just the introduction and conclusion to go, and then the Christianity section will be done.


5677. Just turned my introduction into proper prose. Just the conclusion to do now and I can tick the first item off my list and chillax for a bit.


Done! The Christianity section is 1546 words, and I have 5798 words in total. So, in the last couple of hours, I’ve written a thousand words. Pretty average. I know, of course, now, that I was being ridiculously naive on Friday when I anticipated another ten hours’ work! Just looking at my Paganism section... looks like about another 1500 words. I may cut stuff out. I’ve still got an introduction, conclusion and three floating paragraphs to squeeze in, plus filling out the footnotes, and I can’t exceed 8000 words. It’s good to have room for cutting, though: I’m sure I’ve got stuff that doesn’t push my argument but just kinda sits there. Break time, now, though. I need a wee, and I wish I had some biscuits. I feel great, though, and it’s going well. Praise God.


I have a coffee. Not that I’m drooping yet, but I anticipate drooping. I fear sleepiness. When the Paganism section is done, I shall eat my microwave meal. If I am sufficiently far along, when the sun rises, I will go and sit in the woodland out back and watch the sunrise. I can’t remember the last time I watched a sunrise. I fear it was samhain when I was sixteen, perhaps seventeen. But I’d better not – I might not get back into the building. I guess we crack on, then – I’ve got to come up with an argument for this section.


Written the first 38 words of the introduction – will write the rest at the end when I have something to introduce! Current word count: 5837.


Wrote a paragraph and added a bit more to the introduction. Word count now 6071.


This section is a nightmare. It’s so... bitty. There’s no argument, and I can’t think of one that threads all of the material together. Current word count: 6222.


Finish the Paganism section! 707 words. Good. Total word count now: 6516. We are getting there. I might even get a nap this morning. I don’t know how I’m going to sort of the structure of this thing, do the introduction and conclusion and find somewhere to put those floating bits. Food time now, though.


The tiredness has hit and I want my bed. But I’ve decided what goes where now – and what I’m going to omit – so I shall get a coffee, take a couple of Pro Plus and press on with my introduction. My body is not going to forgive me for this.


I have half an introduction and 6780 words. The other half plus a conclusion should bring me to 7000-7500. Then, once I’ve tidied up, added in some missing bits, linked things together and polished of footnotes, I should be at 7500-8000. Win.


7114 words. Only half a conclusion, because I’m crap at conclusions and want Kerry’s help! I now have a first draft, which I’m going to save and then have a little break before I start editing.


Been sorting out my line references. Down to 7031 but have lots of gaps to fill so it’s fine.


Sun’s coming up. I’m editing away. Currently have exactly 7000 words.


Only 6856 words now, but a couple of holes left to fill yet. May need to pad it out a little. Saving second draft and going to home to bed now, anyway. I’ve got as far as I can without Kerry.

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