From http://wansmile.blogspot.co.ukI was writing my introductory chapter before the Christmas holiday and found myself struggling to articulate the focus of my thesis.  I have two research questions which I reworded for what feels like the umpteenth time but was actually content with how they are. I also thought I had laid a decent introduction to my thesis that provided a good overview of my context.  However the key phrase here is “I thought”.  Past tense, and so not now.  Since I’ve returned to this chapter I’ve been pressing the delete button and muttering “What the hell is this about?” as I try to rework several paragraphs into something more, well, understandable!  So far, I’ve been able to get rid of a lot (A LOT) of waffle and padding and narrowed this chapter down a little further.  The chapter sort of feels more streamlined and my own thinking does feel clearer.  But I’m frustrated it’s such a slow process even though I know, rationally, that doing this is a good thing.  Emotionally, though, it’s a little rough.  I feel like I’m walking against a strong wind where I can see my destination but it’s very, very hard to keep my balance!  I guess I’m moving forward, inch by inch, but it’s hard to tell.  Fingers crossed I can get this chapter out of the way by the end of this week.

4 thoughts on “Rewriting a chapter (again)

  1. “Emotionally, though, it’s a little rough. I feel like I’m walking against a strong wind where I can see my destination but it’s very, very hard to keep my balance!” — This is a terrific observation and a very eloquent way of phrasing it. We’ve all been there and I don’t think the pain of having to “kill your babies” begins and ends with fiction writing — it extends well into academic writing too. Cutting phrases and ideas is always hard and I think it only gets harder when you begin to run up against tangential arguments that may be of personal interest or significance to the author but may, in fact, only be a distraction from the main focus of the book/article/work. Keep up the good work!

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  2. Thanks for the encouragement! It’s a hell of a challenge to evaluate what actually contributes to what I’m trying to say. My supervisors (and a lot of experienced authors I’ve spoken to) say that the editing phase of writing is the most crucial part since that’s when you can see the wood from the trees, so to speak. I’m beginning to understand that now!

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  3. I like the picture you put to suit the writing. It enforced the feeling you expressed! I am sure you will make it successful at the end.

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