After finishing my dissertation a couple of weeks ago, I have to say I’m surprised at how I feel. For the month before the deadline, I couldn’t wait to finish. I just wanted it to go. I had read countless memoirs, information texts and war crimes about the Far East and I felt like it was consuming my life as I lived and breathed it for a good four months of my life. However, now it has gone, I feel like I’m in limbo. The moment I saw it neatly in its glossy binding, I felt empty – not how I imagined that moment to be. I thought I would be heading to the nearest bar to celebrate, not just wanting to go home and curl up in bed – not just because of the hangover I was suffering from!
When the idea came about for the dissertation, I felt overwhelmed and slightly terrified. I had never written such a long piece of work or researched a subject with so many branches coming off it. I’m not going to bang on about how much I read and what I found out as that feels like writing my 10,000 word critical commentary all over again, but I found that it was a fascinating, harrowing and powerful topic to research and write about. As I said, it consumed my life and improved many skills I had already had. When I pressed the button to submit it, I felt proud of what I was handing in and knew I could have done no more. But I didn’t feel relief wash over me as I thought I would.
Instead, since finishing my MA, I have felt pressure crushing down on me to use it and get a job within the industry I dream of working in. For years, I’ve wanted to become a food or sports writer as they are my bigger passions. Now I’ve spent a year of my life writing in various genres, I feel much more confident and equipped to work in the industry. Actually, that’s a total lie – I have low self-esteem and doubt my ability. It could be that I don’t have the ability and I’m right in my thinking, or I could actually try and do it.
So the point in this post? To focus or try to focus on the positive things in your life and carry on writing. I know that I can continue writing my memoir but until it is marked and returned, I’m unsure about how it will be received and if it is good enough. The MA was the best decision I made as I met some truly wonderful people, so leaving that behind has been a hard step, so for the time being I would encourage anyone who has let go of a big project to carry on doing what they love and try to look at the positive things in life.