Blog

Sending your thesis (or book) out into the world

The moment you send a book out into the world can be full of emotions. 

On the one hand, a thing you had been working on for so long is now complete. You took something that was an idea, a hunch, a guess, or a feeling… and turned it into a sold piece of work that other people can read. You probably feel a sense of accomplishment, of pride, of excitement.

On the other hand, once you send off a thesis or book, you don’t have control over who  reads it, or how they react to it. People might misunderstand it. They might understand it but dislike it or judge it to be poor quality work. They might ignore it. That might make you feel nervous or apprehensive.

Finally, once you send your thesis out into the world… you can’t work on it anymore. It is done. There is often a bit of a sense of loss mixed in with the relief.

So the feelings are complex.

kourosh-qaffari-RrhhzitYizg-unsplash

And one of the things that we humans find useful to deal with complex feelings and significant moments of transition is to use ritual.

One ritual that poetry writers have traditionally used to help them acknowledge and address these emotions is to write a “sending” poem.

Some examples from the 16th and 17th centuries (hence the spelling!)

Go, little Book; thy self present,
As Child whose Parent is unkent,
To him that is the President
Of Nobleness and Chivalrie:
And if that Envy bark at thee,
As sure it will, for Succour flee
Under the shadow of his Wing.

Edmund Spenser, Shepheardes Calendar

or

Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, expos’d to publick view,
Made thee in raggs, halting to th’ press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judg).

Anne Bradstreet, The Author to her Book

If you would like to read more, see these three 20th-century poems called ‘Envoi’: by Ezra Pound and William Meredith and Meg Bateman.

***

john-mark-smith-F_cHIM0Kcy4-unsplash

Perhaps you would like to write a letter to your thesis before you send it out into the world? Tell it about your hopes and fears for its future.

It doesn’t have to be a poem, but sometimes putting our feelings into art (whether its a song, a drawing, or a dance) can be an effective technique, so do consider it!

***

Anyway, I wrote this post just as I sent off one of my books after the last round of proofs to be actually printed printed, and my co-author and I had a lot of feelings. I was explaining about envois to him, and thought you might find it helpful too!

Also, I spent some time at Shut Up and Wiki fixing the Wikipedia article on envois

SHARE

Succeeding in a Research Higher Degree

Doing a Research Higher Degree (like a PhD) is hard, but lots of people have succeeded and you can too. It’s easier if you understand how it works, this blog gives you the insider view.

Contact

Related Posts

When TurnItIn is wrong about plagiarism

I have a lot of issues with TurnItIn and it’s researcher version Authenticate. (There is also a moral argument, which is very valid! but I’m just talking here about the fact that, as tools, they don’t really work). So it’s not surprising that TurnItIn is wrong about plagiarism’s past too.

Read More

250th post on Research Degree Insiders

We’ve just passed a major landmark, with our 250th post here on Research Degree Insiders (about how to anonymise your research for peer review without erasing it!) Back in 2013, I started a tiny place on the internet to share the resources that I was talking about every day with students in one-on-one sessions .

Read More

Get the latest blog posts