As I’ve been keeping track of how I spend my time in ManicTime, I can now assess how much time writing my dissertation took me, and how much time rewriting and implementing comments took me.
When I finished my first draft, I thought the biggest chunk of work was done.
I spent a total of a little over 600 hours on my dissertation, over a time period from March 2012 to May 2013.
The following list shows you how my time budget breaks down:
Writing the first draft: 205 hours
Rewriting the first draft for approval by promotor and copromotor: 123 hours
Working on the comments of my committee: 255 hours
Final preparations on layout to get it ready for printing and publishing: 30 hours
As you can see: writing the first draft is only 1/3 of all the work. There’s much more to be done afterwards…
If we break it down into time, the chronology of my dissertation looked like this:
Writing the first draft: March 2012 – November 2012
I delivered my first draft on November 14th. Most of my first 4 chapters as well as my 7th chapter were written in weekends and on the evenings, as I couldn’t find the peace and calm for writing during the office hours, where regular research and teaching activities were in full swing. Over summer, I wrote a set of conference papers for the conferences that I was planning to attend in 2013, and in September and October I carried out the research for chapters 5 and 6.
Rewriting the first draft for approval by promotor and copromotor: early December 2012 – end of January 2013
As so many PhD students, I had to try rather hard to convince my busy supervisors to sit down, read the draft and provide me with their comments. As I had been working on my theory in silence, and not discussed it until I delivered the first draft, it took a number of meetings and significant rewriting of my chapter 5 to actually get my message across. In fact, this chunk of research was something I hadn’t shown in a presentation yet, nor written down in a paper, so it naturally took me more time t crystallize my message.
Working on the comments of my committee: March 2013- mid April 2013
That was one hell of a busy time! The committee members get maximum 3 weeks for their feedback, I calculated a month, but the time it takes to pin a meeting with everybody added another 2 weeks. Working through the comments also added about 100 pages to the final document (also a number of extra Annexes).
Final preparations on layout to get it ready for printing and publishing: first half of May 2013
I found it very hard to stop proofreading, and to just let it go and accept that it can’t be perfect. The final preparations were mostly related to fishing for typos, and getting my layout ready for the printer. Don’t ask me about putting landscape tables on a portrait page – I spent three full days fretting away at that, and I still have a Table of Doom in my final dissertation.
How much time did you spend on rewriting as compared to writing? Do my results correspond to yours, or was your first draft an immediate hit?