Today I officially start writing my first chapter. Okay, it will actually end up being Chapter Six in the dissertation itself, but I apparently feel the need to write this thing in reverse order. (Except for the fact that the introduction is all but written, in pieces here and there.) But it's the first chapter that I'm attempting to write.
And I've been trying to figure out my plan of attack. When I wrote my MA thesis, I treated each chapter as if I was writing a 25-30 page essay, although since the whole thing was fewer than 100 pages long (with a considerably smaller body of source material), I could keep track of it all as if it was also one work. This time, it's overwhelming me a little. I have so much research material, and it's not all carefully separated according to chapter, and I've been collecting this stuff for more than a year now. I guess it's also a little overwhelming because most of the research is on my computer, which is new for me. I'm used to having a little stack of books beside me, with little bookmarks in them, and having few enough sources that in my head I can keep track of who said what. That's not possible now (and wasn't really possible when I was writing my MA thesis, meaning that I spent hours upon hours searching books trying to track down and vaguely-remembered-and-noted quotation; this is why I now have my OneNote system.)
So, I'm feeling a little intimidated by it all. What do/did you do? What worked/s for you? How do I break this down into manageable pieces without losing sight of the work as a whole?
(I mostly know how to handle the other anxieties and guilt feelings, especially the infamous "You're in the second semester of your fifth year, and you're JUST starting to write a chapter now, and your friends are getting through this faster, and no one is ever going to want to hire you" self-sabotaging thoughts.)