Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Today I sent a full draft of my thesis to Blackwood. I have no idea if it's any good. I kind of suspect that it's not. I think I do actually have a good argument in there somewhere, and I have a smashing introduction, but it turns out that it's harder than I thought to sustain a coherent argument over 30 pages of text. In other words, even though I have a lot to say, it may not be clear to the reader why I'm saying it. And it probably doesn't help that this particular draft is particularly rough.

I rarely write rough drafts at all. Even for a paper that's up to 25 pages, I will usually take lots of time as I write my first draft to choose each word with precision, construct each sentence for maximum clarity and stylistic impact, and craft each transition to subtly yet clearly lead the reader from topic to topic. This time ... not so much. I needed to get it done, and I knew there would be endless rounds of revision anyway, so I just cranked it out as fast as I could. There are places where I have bracketed notes that basically say things like, "insert transition here" or "wow, this sentence sucks, I will definitely want to fix it later."

Whatever. It's done. I have a draft. I feel very, very good about having accomplished even this much. The deadline to defend is February 20th, and we've planned about a month for revisions, so if Blackwood thinks it's even good enough to be salvageable, I should still be able to graduate in April. That's all I'm hoping for, really: that he looks at it and says, "Good news - we can fix this." If not ... yikes. I am really not interested in starting from scratch at this point.

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