My dissertation proposal took about a year to write, although, to be fair, it wasn't a yearlong sustained effort. More like: over the course of a year, I intermittently asked various advisors for editorial guidance — Lance Olsen, Melanie Rae Thon, Scott Black, Richard Preiss, and Andy Franta who spoke on behalf of the entire graduate committee — and as their suggestions and concerns and questions came back to me I incorporated little bits here and little bits there until finally, one day, I was done.
I've been working on another proposal, though, for like three years, and it just won't come together. I've wisely ditched the first draft — never to be submitted, never to be seen by human eyes again (one hopes, at least)! So then last week during spring break, I attempted to force the second and the radically different third drafts into submission, but they're not right and today is the day I admit, finally, that I know it and have known it all along. So today is also the day I start over, again, using whatever tiny shreds of phrases and sentences I have that might yet be salvageable.
Wouldn't it be great if proposals just came together like wildflower bouquets and we could hold them out to the people who need them and say, "Here! Aren't they beautiful?" but instead, here I am trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong by talking about how it's all so very wrong, and all I really know is that I am the loser of this dumb drama and despite this I have to go away now and try again. (I thought I'd blog at least, to jog the typing muscles, and write 20 lines, but counting this line I only got to nine. Let's call it ten.)