It's not because the topic isn't one I find exciting - if anything, this is the chapter that features the ideas that I've been turning over in my mind the longest, and I'll be playing with some sources that made me actually laugh out loud ("someone in the seventeenth century wrote down exactly what I'm arguing!") with delight the first time I read them. But the ideas are also complex ones and I'm so anxious about not expressing them properly. And, as the last chapter I'm writing, I'm constantly distracted by all of the little things that I left out of other chapters, and torn between wanting to squeeze them in here whilst also being aware that not everything will fit, and there are just some things I'm going to have to let go.
So, it's been a tough few weeks in which I feel like I've been making progress verrry slowly, and I realised at the start of this week that I had to do something to shunt myself back into gear. Back in the second year of my PhD (halcyon days), I used to get into town early and go sit in a coffee-shop for an hour. Back then this was my time for writing fiction, which is what I love to do when I'm not wearing my historian hat. I'd come out of that hour fired up for the day but also fired up for the stories I was writing. I realised this week that maybe I needed those creative coffees again, but that I needed them to get fired up about the thesis.
Which is why you'll find me most mornings, sometime between 8am and 9.30am, sitting in my favourite window spot of the St Andrew's Pret a Manger (a chain to which I am an unabashed convert), surrounded by sheets of paper and with at least three different coloured pens to hand. The rest of the day is still for research and note-taking - and occasionally blog-post-writing - but that hour is for thinking, scribbling, and wrestling with the ideas that will underpin that terrifying final chapter. Whether it's the caffeine, the contrast of environment from my usual office or library working-space, or the sensation of my favourite fountain pen on paper, something about that hour is helping me get back on track. Let's clink coffee mugs to getting out of ruts.