Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Baby Steps

After my rather over-blown yet somewhat cathartic Dissertation experience last week (see previous post), I gathered my wits and set down some guidelines. Two things drive my latest task: I leave for the Society for American Music conference in Denver one week from today; I present a paper on my Diss research at the University of Buffalo Grad Student Conference 17 days from today. Neither of these things, incidentally, am I overly prepared for.

The current task is writing a 10-page paper that will take about 20 minutes to read at the UB conference. I think I'll have a hand-out as well (no idea how many to anticipate in the audience....note to self: find out). The topic is "The BPO Gets a New Deal" (BPO=Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra). When I sent in the proposal, this topic was a smaller version of one chapter of my Diss. Since the whole revision and whatnot, this topic IS my Diss. Hmm.

Now that my Diss seems reasonably reasonable (love THAT grammar?!?!) in that I have a plan that doesn't make my stomach burn, I feel good about it. Part of my self-analysis from last week came as a result of having to get this smaller paper together. I REALLY like this topic now. Ten pages should be nothing.

Hummpph. Sure. But, where to begin? Such a small about of info for this particular task compared to what I have for the whole Diss. It's like a summary of all of my work, but I want it to be good and interesting and generate some Q & A afterwards.....the usual. AND, it has to have some sort of conclusion which I HAVEN'T gotten to in my Diss. So, this will be taking up all of my time until I leave for Denver in ONE WEEK. Plus other goodies always rolling around these parts that eat away at precious minutes with the verve and tenacity of a soon-to-be caterpillar run amok in my soon-be-blooming garden. These things happen, don't they....

But, this task DOES seem manageable and I am starting it right now. I'll keep ya posted. And, if anyone is interested in attending the paper, I'll post the schedule when it becomes available.

Little things. Baby steps. Small tasks even if they seem large. 10 pages. Got it.

1 comment:

Katie said...

I'm not sure which is better (or worse):

-having a large topic, struggling with it, not realizing that it needs to be scaled down, finally realizing it needs to be scaled down and then knowing exactly how to do so.

-having a large topic, knowing from the very beginning it needs to be scaled down, not knowing how to do it.

hm. I find myself in the 2nd situation....