Visualization of thesis word count

I am very close to finishing and submitting my thesis. The write-up phase has been incredible – just a blur, really, as I’ve worked Saturdays and Sundays and have had almost zero down-time.

I only seriously got into the write-up in early July, throwing away a lot of what I had written over the past year or two and starting with about 5,000 words. Then at the start of August all the late nights on the thesis caught up with me and I had horrible gum infections (a wisdom tooth that is half embedded) and a chest infection, both requiring courses of antibiotics – immune system had taken a hammering, I assume.

Then the new semester started and I was just in survival mode. But, then I seemed to get my strength back and got back into the write-up and finishing off my final study.

Just to procrastinate a bit, I went to GitHub where I have been version-controlling my LaTeX thesis document and checked out the different versions for each day, doing a word count in TeXStudio. Then I used Excel to enter the data and create the following time-series chart:

The type of PhD I’ve almost completed meant I needed a minimum of 50,000 words, because of the significant amount of software development – a VR-based game, an API and a web-based analytics dashboard. However, I am just under 60,000 words and still have a few thousand more to go. Citations are approach 230 with another couple of dozen at least to go.

It’s strangely emotional looking at the visualization. In mid-August, when I was suffering badly with a chest infection, I almost felt like giving up, or more likely just taking my time and finishing well into next year. Then the recovery surprised me.