I feel slightly guilty. Today's been a slow day on the dissertation, with just over 400 words written, and yet here I am skiving off doing work to write about something completely unrelated. Perhaps it's a sign that the times they are a-changing, that I'm working like a lunatic. I was out last night for the first time in goodness knows how long, and yet rather than relaxing and enjoying a couple of acoustic sets in a chilled atmosphere, I was left thinking about referees and their duty of care in relation to a particular hypothetical situation.
Of course, I shouldn't feel guilty. I am allowed a break. I'm halfway through the dissertation now, and I'm through the toughest bit, pulling all the little minutiae of the law together to form a coherent picture. Next comes the fun bit of criticising it and then writing my conclusions. Besides, if I'm working all the time then I'll burn myself out at exactly the wrong time of year.
On this basis, I finally managed to get some writing done the other night. Admittedly, this was at one in the morning, but it was good to get all creative. Even if it was just the planning stage. It was even nicer that the plan I did manage to knock up for myself is of a good-sized project that should keep me busy a while with doing bits and bobs of research, then writing it (I reckon it'll be 20,000 words or so), then editing it. And the even better bit is that I have another project to work on in tandem.
Neither of these stories is small. The first one requires research and careful world-building. The second needs a steady hand. It'll be a case of subtly attacking current government social policy within the context of a fictional near-future setting, which makes it an awkward balance; while I want to get the story across (and it's a good story), I don't want the messages to be missed, and by the same token I don't want the criticism of the government to be overbearing.
But for now, it's back to the dissertation. Frustrating as it is, it has to be done. In order to make it a little more bearable, I have described it in videogaming terms to myself. And I'll do the same here. It's like I've been through the little minor bosses, and now here's the end of game boss. Can't fail at this stage.