79,800 words

by Anna Blanch on May 30, 2012

79,800 words.

280 pages of double spaced (175 pages of single spaced) text.

That’s the word and page count for my current draft of five chapters, an introduction, and a conclusion of my doctoral thesis. Chapter 5, which I’d like to be ready to send to my supervisors by next week is 12,203 words long and it’s not ready yet.

What happens when you’ve hit your word count and you’re not done? Not by a long shot.

I don’t mean just that there is more to say on the topic. If there wasn’t it wouldn’t be a good topic. After all, I am hoping to spend part of my career writing more about Nesbit and her writing. I mean it’s not done. It’s loose and messy in places. There are holes, deficiencies and deficits. There are gaps and parts that just don’t work.

When I say it is not done, what I mean to ask is what happens when the goal and measures and parameters you set cease to have any meaning?

I have to measure beyond word counts and deadlines to something more intangible. Does it read well? Does it work?

It’s both the most joyful and most frustrating part.


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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=656235160 Bex Lewis

    It’s the exciting part Anna. My first thesis draft was 120,000 words. It’s much the best position to be in, as you can then ‘sift for the gold’. My supervisor said I had to decide between sections – which was I prepared to fight for more/which contributed more to the thesis question. Other sections which hadn’t fully developed – those could be put to one side & potentially become chapters/journal articles in the future! Keep going 🙂 Shame I’m not seeing you this time, enjoying #TDC12 🙂 

  • Lindsey

    Edit by delete button is a great stage to be in.

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