Graduation—sooner or later?

At Lancaster University, doctoral students in the English & Creative Writing Department typically graduate in December. Brrr. But despite that, my sweetie, who is nothing if not intrepid, suggested we combine a winter graduation with Christmas in London and a visit to the Christkindlmarkt in Bavaria. Shopping? I’m in!

Then, last week, my supervisor told me that, instead of graduating in December 2021, I could move it up to July 2021. Which then precipitated a crisis greater even than missing the Christkindlmarkt.


  • I’d have my degree earlier!
  • Travel in the summer is much easier and packing less complicated (no Sorels, no parka)
  • Sweetie and I could go to Scotland afterward


  • Complete chaos in my regular book production schedule. Removing five months removes two books, which is half a year without a release.
  • I’d already removed one book in order to devote the first three months of 2020 to finishing the first draft. With the new schedule, I’d need to finish the final draft of the novel + the nonfiction thesis by autumn. That’s only six months, and working flat out to the finish line. Which leaves no time to write my August 2020 book (One for the Rogue) or the November 2020 book (The Judge Wore Lamp Black).
  • My funding runs out in June 2020.

I’ll need to decide what I’m doing by the time I have my third-year review in April. Is it worth disappointing readers in order to have my degree half a year sooner?

10 thoughts on “Graduation—sooner or later?”

  1. Penny ThomasPenny Thomas

    I say go for June 2021 – Winter in UK is dismal. And, I’m feeling rather mortal right now and thinking along the lines of, ‘Eat dessert first, you never know what’ll happen by the end of the meal!’
    I’m not sure why ‘My funding runs out June 2020’ is under the ‘Con’ heading. Wouldn’t it be better to only have a year un-funded, not a year and five months?

    December 11, 2019
  2. Esther TaylorEsther Taylor

    I love that you are getting this degree …
    it is a great accomplishment!
    However, I do not think it really matters
    to anyone but you … after all we love your
    writing NOW and I am sure what you learn will translate
    into your books being even better as time goes on!
    If it is distressing to totally change your
    current book writing timeline then this is really
    a decision only you can make!
    I am sure that when you both go over there at ANY
    time of the year … you will have a wonderful time
    full of great memories and ideas and FUN!
    My best wishes go out to you!!

    December 11, 2019
  3. Jodie EschJodie Esch

    I believe that you have a solid readership and they will find you once your degree is finished.
    My thoughts would be to race to the finish line. Better traveling time in the summer. Faster closure!
    Just my thoughts.

    December 12, 2019
  4. Julian WhiteJulian White

    I’m sure your regular (loyal?) readers will support whatever you decide. However… I’d have to agree that winter in the UK can be less than pleasant (and the odd summer too, for that matter). My experience of Scotland is limited – I think it rather depends where you are!

    You have our very best wishes, anyway.

    December 16, 2019
  5. Debbie HusbyDebbie Husby

    I’m glad you put this out, I was just thinking about shooting you an encouraging email! It sounds like you’re doing well and enjoying your programme. Do what you want! I can wait for the new book of that’s what it takes. You’re a successful authoress that’s not going to go away. Which plan fits best with what you want to do in the less immediate future?
    Your hubby sounds wonderful, I think I’ll get my china out and have a dinner as soon as I can get my dining room table cleared off, and I will say a toast to him, and then another to you! Carry on!

    December 16, 2019

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