The whole of last week was devoted to revising a chapter. I am used to rushing to meet deadlines and working intensely for long hours, but I found revising, going back over content repeatedly, much tougher than writing the first draft.
The longer your to-do list, the more you tend to avoid it. Spending time reading is a kind of comfort zone in this phase. I couldn’t change or stop my morning reading habit until one week before the deadline, even when I should have been writing.
Generally, the stress level increases throughout the process, but the feeling when I finally submit a new version is simply awesome.
My supervisors gave me their feedback three days later. We had a face-to-face meeting on Friday, which was very productive. I also thought a lot about my work. On reflection, there are so many things that I should have done earlier, such as making transcripts of some important cases and writing enough information in the first draft.
My main challenges at this stage are the coherency of the chapter and identifying dimensions at a very detailed level. I thought that my ‘mesh’ or ‘grid’ for sifting information is still broad, not fine enough. What I need is a microscope-like exploration of viewpoints. My supervisor compared it to cutting a cake; you can select any different dimensions to cut a cake.
I am very lucky to realise these things (putting me back on track) before going to my first conference presentation next month.
I didn’t intend to fast but I completed a 60-hour fast last weekend.
I read an interesting article on intermittent fasting. Professor Mattson reports that fasting caused positive neurochemical changes, which led to an improvement in cognitive function and resistance to stressful stimuli. He also found some indications that intermittent fasting enhances the ability of nerve cells to repair DNA. More interestingly, benefits were not related to calorific restriction in general, but with specific intentional periods of intermittent fasting.
Regarding my experiment of 60 hours of total fasting, I didn’t find it difficult actually. Maybe I was just curious about it and ended up spending 60 hours consuming only water. But I could not do it regularly and will not do another whole-day fast, because intermittent fasting does make more sense now.
I made Chinese rice porridge to break the fast. That was absolutely delicious.
I baked blueberry muffins on Thursday morning and curry buns on Saturday for a little treat. I love Martha Collison’s muffin recipe, which always turns out wonderfully well. I leave the batter in the fridge overnight and make morning muffins with some fruit. They are very moist and fluffy. I do want to bake the muffins more often.
These curry buns are my first try. The bread has a chewy, springy texture with a curry filling. A deep-fried curry bun is a popular food in Japan. I don’t fry them but bake them in the oven. They smell really nice and are very tasty.
My achievements in Weeks 85 and 86
- revised a chapter and received positive feedback and much advice
- transcribed audio data of two cases
- submitted a piece of coursework for the teaching programme
- had a very productive meeting with my supervisors
- baked blueberry muffins and curry buns
Goals for Week 87
- make full versions of transcripts of three or four cases and share them with my supervisors
- start preparing my conference presentation