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I'm nearly done with my first draft, and I just wanted to share a few tips with you all out there who may be wondering how in fact one stays sane while writing a large document without the slightest bit of input from you thesis committee. I would say, it's mostly in the planning. So before sitting down to write, make sure to gather the following supplies, your sanity will thank you later!

1) Snacks. You will inevitably feel the need to munch, and it's better to be prepared so that you aren't constantly running across the street to the deli to snag some Hostess cupcakes which while delicious will totally wreck your awesome new diet plan (cook it yourself!) and your many trips to the new gym will be in vain (thank you $10/ month gym membership!). I would recommend cocoa-covered almonds from Trader Joes (thanks Cathy!), protein = good, chocolate while sitting inside depressed on a sunny day = even better!

2)Booze, and lots of it. But you have to be smart. You don't want to get drunk because you'll just have to rewrite that awesome(ly horrible) passage you just wrote later, which will be a major bummer and time dump. Buzzy or a little tipsy are good compromises and usually the writing isn't unsalvageable. Wine makes you feel a bit like the best lush writers of the past, but if you're like me it makes you sleepy (not good!) so beer...or liquor if you can pace yourself with sips.

3) Multiple Packs of Gum. For those times when you're stressed, sick of munching, and have NO intention of becoming a chain smoker. (you know I'm serious when there's gum involved)

4)A different book, knitting, or other project for when you just can't take sitting in front of your damn computer screen for another second or you WILL throw up on the keyboard. Hobbies are good evasion techniques as well. Suggestions include juggling, becoming proficient at musical instruments, and dancing.

5) 2-3 cigarettes. As a contingency plan. For those times when it is Friday night, and you're alone, and maybe tipsy, working on this by now God-awful project and all you want to do is go to the bar. Having a pack of gum on hand to erase the memory of the horrible thing you just did to your lungs is useful. CAUTION: No more than 2-3 or you will pick it up as a habit (I've seen it happen), which aside from the health risks is a)expensive as hell in New York State, and you will be a poor college student (do the math) and b)will force you to stand outside for at least five minutes at a time every couple hours during the coldest days of the year (no thanks!). See tip #3 for alternatives.

6) Cleaning supplies. Your apartment will never be so clean as when a paper is due.

7) Gym membership. For you will become a sedentary creature, which will not do wonders for your waistline. Plus it helps with stress-relief (all-important) and is totally worth it. Get one, even if it is the cheapest one in town. You will be thankful later.

8) Plenty of good food for some home-cookin'. It'll help keep your spirits up and body healthy as you focus in on the final push. Also, you will appreciate every complete, home-cooked meal you treat yourself to, because that is time that you spend not working on your thesis. Like tonight I made a pan seared tuna steak, mushroom couscous, and fresh steamed broccoli. Delicious!

9) Finding your personal source of motivation. Because it sure won't come from anywhere else (::cough cough:: thesis committee::cough cough::) I would say spite and/or anger work pretty well (true story)

Additions/recommendations welcome! Also, why is my lemon emoticon wearing an eye patch for "determined"? Also also, why isn't there an emoticon for "delirious"?

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