When writing becomes dancing

I think for some PhD students the final last gasp to the finish line must feel just like that – a final gut-wrenching, exhausting, mind-numbed collapse over the line. And until recently I thought it was like that for me. But something has changed.

I’m dancing.

These last three days have felt balletic. I’ve done all the hard slog and now I’m merely finishing off my footwork and hand movements – the choreo is done, the practising is done, I’m just perfecting it now.

I’ve been writing a few minutes here, and hour or two there, and apart from some additional discussion writing and making sure the conclusion matches the theory and the introduction I’m just editing. It’s like flourishes with a ribbon. Quick, short, gone in a flash.

Missed a reference? Add it in – flourish! Whoops, poor cutting and pasting? Slice it away, whoosh! Sentences too long? Add a full stop and reshape. Twirl! I’m dancing over the text. My supervisor has now read the whole draft and this morning I incorporated her edits in 3 whole chapters. It took 2 hours. Wheee!

I guess it helps that my supervisor isn’t throwing up over the material. She has even praised me for some sections. She’s let go a bit too.

I’m not sure why I feel this way. Maybe it’s because I set up my final document some months ago and I’ve been working with the final draft copy ever since. All the margins are done. The frontispieces and back matter, appendices and references are all done. The TOC, updating automatically when needed. There’s now no longer any need to sit for long hours at the computer, pulling my hair out. Just a pirouette here, a jete there.

I’m at the end and I can feel it. It’s not a big Beethoven finale, but it’s lovely. A little bit Bach.

Can you feel it? Can you see it? I’m dancing!

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