And lo, I have sent the fourth of my dissertation chapters to my advisor. I am sure there will be some minor tweaks to make, but pretty much what's ahead of me at this point is the introduction and conclusion, and then putting the thing together. (Which I don't want to discount. There are going to be hundreds of things in the Works Consulted section. And decidedly un-Pratchett-like footnotes to format.)
Still. The worst part of the insanity is over. The end is in sight.
Oddly enough, one of the things that has helped me the most in writing this project was a piece of advice I got at Clarion. When stuck, ask your character what she wants. When I had trouble making an argument, going back and thinking about why these texts were written, what the women I am studying hoped to do, clarified things. It took me outside of my own agenda in writing, and made me consider perspectives other than my own -- a good thing on days where I was grumpy at the Protestants for having a Reformation, as that meant I had to have a fourth chapter.
I love the days when speculative theology is like speculative fiction, and writing is just writing. It makes me feel like maybe I'm getting something right.