The burnout is real.

From September 8 to October 2, I attended a virtual dissertation writing boot camp.

I have childcare each day from 1 pm to 6 pm. I have standing meetings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 2. The Bootcamp ran from 2 - 5 each day that week, so my Tuesday and Wednesday meetings were moved back to 1. I had no time between my mother-in-law’s arrival and my meetings to do any getting set up. On the other days, I spent that first hour transitioning my kid and getting everything I needed together for the boot camp.

Every day that week at 5 I was too exhausted to take advantage of that last hour of childcare for anything but rest.

I wrote an entire chapter of my dissertation that week; it was probably about 25 pages by the time I was done.

At the end of the boot camp, we talked about what we were going to do to carry our momentum forward. I blathered about my little routines to help me settle in at the beginning of my workday.

I took a week off from dissertating after the boot camp. I did none of my routines.

The following week, I spent most of the week at the Fan Studies Network North America conference, which was amazing. But the schedule was such that, again, I didn’t really do any of my routines.

The week after that, I filled in the remaining gaps in the three dissertation chapters I had written. This was not heavy work, and it’s a good thing.

I told myself I was going to write my discussion chapter as part of NaNoWriMo, but as we all know, the US election was on November 3 (not just presidential; I was concerned about down-ballot races too, esp. NC senate). And then there were days of waiting. Who could get work done during that time?

Not me. Not on my dissertation, anyway. (Throughout all of this I have continued doing work for my assistantship.)

Over the weekend I thought to myself, “Monday will be the day. Monday will be the day that I get back into my routines.”

Reader, I did not get back into my routines Monday.

I didn’t on Tuesday, either.

Only today did I move in that direction: I meditated for 3 minutes with Headspace. I wrote a couple of “morning” pages (but not a full 3). I did a Tarot card pull.

I got The Star. It was the right card for today.

I started generating ideas for a process for creating my discussion chapter.

It feels silly to say. But that’s where I am.

Image is a detail of the 10 of Wands from the product image for the Wayhome Tarot at the Everyday Magic website. It’s a great deck. I highly recommend it.

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Kimberly Hirsh, PhD @KimberlyHirsh
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 This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 .

I acknowledge that I live and work on unceded Lumbee, Skaruhreh/Tuscarora, and Shakori land. I give respect and reverence to those who came before me. I thank Holisticism for the text of this land acknowledgement.

We must acknowledge that much of what we know of this country today, including its culture, economic growth, and development throughout history and across time, has been made possible by the labor of enslaved Africans and their ascendants who suffered the horror of the transatlantic trafficking of their people, chattel slavery, and Jim Crow. We are indebted to their labor and their sacrifice, and we must acknowledge the tremors of that violence throughout the generations and the resulting impact that can still be felt and witnessed today. I thank Dr. Terah ‘TJ’ Stewart for the text of this labor acknowledgement.