How to write a BA thesis after 6 years of being a fuck-up


-You pick a topic, have it approved, make a writing plan. You feel relieved that the people in your group have topics far less solid, and you gain faith in yourself when someone says his biggest downfall is that he is too profound. Now you conquered one of your biggest fears; beginning.

-You pick a topic that many, many people have already written about. You don’t think that that means you won’t have anything to add because you know now that that isn’t your job. You are not a career academic. You pick your favourite book by your favourite author, and apply some extremely obvious theories to it. You don’t try to reinvent the wheel, and you don’t pick books that seem cool but that you haven’t read yet. They could only disappoint.

-You pick a nice place to write. You choose home because you are a recluse that is easily distracted by people watching in the library and the café. You write about half of it in your garden house and the other half at the dinner table. You do not try to write it in bed or on the sofa under the blankets. You light candles and incense because you are an aspiring witch.

-You write down everything you already know you want to say. You write it in academic language so you can use it in the finished product. You are very afraid of the blank page, the sooner you fill it the better. You don’t sit down to read background sources cover to cover, you just flick through the chapters and look in the index for terms that seem familiar. You hope everyone else does it this way too.

-You calculate how much you still need to write and cut it up into the smallest possible pieces of writing. You make a To Do list of all these tiny fragments. They say things like ‘100 more words on Dorian Gray’s ambiguously gendered interests’ and ’50 more words on Sybil’s suicide’. You subtract every extra word you wrote from the amount you will have to write in the conclusion. You hate conclusions. You tick every tiny thing of the To Do list immediately after doing it. It feels very rewarding.

-You use the Pomodoro method like it is a religion. 25 minutes of working followed by a 5 minute break, with a 15 minute break after 4 cycles. It is the only way to make your horrible brain focus on completing something when it is used to endless immediate gratification from the apps  on your phone. You get up in the breaks to make yourself loose-leaf tea.

-You come close to finishing, so you get cocky and take days off to drink lattes in town. You regain your spirit and power through. You work for two horribly boring last days and then you have what is essentially a thesis. It isn’t perfect so you edit and change. You find it  much easier to polish an imperfect piece of writing than to write it from scratch.

-You finished. You haven’t handed it in yet, so you could still die before the deadline. You would at least die a person who finished something she started for the very first time.


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