Weird in the sense that it feels like something that someone else should be doing. I spent years as a student analysing other authors' work (this is not to say that I am in any way on par with those writers, be they Fitzgerald or King). It is something that *should* be done by an outsider.
Enlightening because as I have worked on the dissertation (this week is the rewrite of chapter four: metaphor) I have discovered all of these things that I did in the novel that I didn't realise I had done. Case in point: a scene in the second section of the novel that only upon analysis I realise was inspired by Fra Angelico's The Annunciation. On one side Adam and Eve are being banished from the Garden of Eden, while on the other Mary sits beneath a domed ceiling, the Angel Gabriel in front of her, and a ray of light--a visible ray of light--reaching down from God's hands to her with a dove inside of it. I took a lot of art history back in my undergrad days and very likely studied this painting. The image of the visible light, like names (more on that in a second), hooked itself in my brain, and I ended up writing an intimate moment between two characters in a walled garden (definitely NOT the Garden of Eden, though it is nearly impossible to avoid that metaphor when writing about gardens) in which the female characters can feel the light. I wrote this particular thing, with this idea in mind, without realising until a few days ago where it came from.
Last weekend during Eastercon when I was on the panel, the same sort of thing came up: what we don't know that we know. I have a bad habit of naming characters after people (historically real or currently alive, though not direct friends of mine) without realising it. Usually I end up renaming the character, but in the case of the PhD novel I have done it with two characters and have left it because it both made sense and deepened the connections between my novel and gardening history.
Although it feels as if I will never be finished with this dissertation, I am pleased about having to do it. In the future, I may do something similar (though without the same deadlines or emotional weight attached) so that I can SEE what I have done unintentionally or unconsciously, and then do more of it.