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9 months left and feel I can't complete

Thanks to those who replied to my original message.

5 weeks ago I wrote about my panic at finishing the PhD with 9 months left. Since then I have gone through a roller coaster of emotions. I guess it comes with the territory! I have had periods of busy paid work when I haven't had time to even think about the thesis, and other times of intense work on the thesis.

During these periods of intense work I have managed to write 10,000+ words. There were days when I had great concentration and could write 1,400 words per day. It's not of finished quality, but it's not awful either.

My problem is that these successful runs are rare because my work and family distract, and it is hard to have a very long run of days of work.

I now have slightly more than seven and a half months to complete, and am now in one of those phases where I think that I will not be able to finish it. This may well be irrational, but there you go.

I do not depend on external funding, so that is not where my pressure comes from. The problem is my university. As far as they are concerned, my deadline is at the end of October. However, they can grant an extension of up to one year, or a leave of absence, in "exceptional circumstances".

Does anybody know how British universities define "exceptional circumstances"? Are they real, certified medical problems, or is it possible to get a leave of absence because of professional work pressures?

9 months left and feel I can't complete

My PhD is due in almost exactly 9 months, and I have suddenly gotten nervous about whether I have time to finish it.

I have been working on this part time (VERY part time) for 8 years. I have a full time job, small children and other commitments.

My work is in the social science area. I have written two book chapters – each of these will be form the basis of my literature review. One of these needs only a little updating. The other is a little short and will need to be extended by 4,000 or 5,000 words.

I probably have about half of my methodology chapter written in draft form, but it needs a lot of work.

I have collected my data and prepared it for analysis, but I am not good at quantitative analysis. I have hired a statistical consultant to guide me through the final steps of the process, but this has not been completed yet. It might happen that there are fundamental flaws with my data, in which case I’ll be in real trouble.

So, in 9 months, I have to write an introduction, extend one chapter of literature, pull my methodology together, write up my results (and I’ve no idea how to do that) and write the conclusions.

Sometimes I think it’s very achievable. But other times I feel like quitting because I just think that it cannot be done.

I have about 30,000 words written of variable quality and in various stages of completion. My maximum word limit is 80,000 but my supervisor recommends producing less than that in order to make life easier for the examiners. Can this be done? A part of me would love to be able to find some way of getting an extension, but another part of me knows that even if I had another 5 years I’d still be working on it for that time – I’d just take my foot off the pedal. I really need a deadline to get myself focussed.

Any advice?