Back to Bootcamp

So I spent another weekend at Thèsez-vous, my favourite (and only) thesis-writing retreat! The first one I went to was held at a children’s summer camp, this one was in an old convent, but the experience was similar. There is a very rigid schedule: we have blocks of writing time, interspersed with outdoor play time, meals and breaks and snacks, a somewhat condescending workshop with an experienced academic, and some yoga and meditation. We set goals for each writing period at the beginning, write them on post-its, and then move the post-its from the ‘to do’ section to the ‘in progress’ section, to ‘done.’ I found it super motivational, and though I thought I knew all there is to know about myself as a writer/academic, I found it pretty neat to realise that micro-structuring my time seems to be helpful. I didn’t achieve all my goals, but I did leave with a road map (or detailed outline) for the rest of the results/discussion, and a view of the end in sight, very very far in the distance, but in sight! So I’m hyper motivated and happy.

Of course, when I returned home it was to a whole other set of deadlines, none of which involve the thesis. This week I could write a blog post titled ‘How not to write a journal in 7 days,’ and then there’s another article to edit, some data for a third project to analyse, a conference submission or two to prepare, some preservice teachers to supervise, the MA student I am co-supervising needs me to read her document (I think it’s somewhere around  50 pages long), and besides organizing a conference, meeting with the teachers for a fourth project (where at least I am not the lead researcher), and meeting with some colleagues to discuss the possibility of starting a bilingual academic journal focused on early childhood education and care, oh and that book proposal I am supposed to write with some other colleagues…well, I should get a chance to work on the thesis again sometime soon.

Oh and did I mention I’m doing the Crossfit Open, going to start training for a 30k  running race when the snow melts, and preparing to move with my partner and 2 kids to the city where my job is actually located?  But thèsez-vous was an amazing experience, I highly recommend it to any grad students in Quebec or eastern Ontario. They have a Facebook page now where you can meet up at cafés and work. You just announce where you will be, put a clothespin on your laptop, and wait for the other students to show up and motivate you. I met a woman at the retreat who works full time so she either attends a formal retreat or organises an informal one with friends once a month, and she says she’s making excellent progress. My next plan is to try the informal rent a chalet with friends and attempt to reproduce the vortex of writing joy and vacation feel. I’ll keep you posted if it happens!


About joannelehrer

I am a PhD student attempting to critically engage with narrative research in early childhood education. My doctoral project focuses on family-educator and family-teacher relationships during the transition to kindergarten in marginalized communities. I created this blog to document the journey, and to reach out to others in the vague hope of creating an opportunity for exchange with other students or academics...kind of like a virtual message in a bottle.

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