As it turns out, I’m pretty fond of the dissertation revising process.
I’m quite sure that a few weeks from now you’ll hear me agonizing over something, but Week 1, at least, has been a great success. I attribute it to a combination of excellent advice from my advisor, who suggested that I reread all six of my chapters and begin drafting a 2-3 page dissertation summary; as well as my own hard work. Yes, it would not have been the success it’s been if I hadn’t parked myself in that chair every day and devoted myself to working through the chapter.
Part of my exhilaration lies in the fact that I realized last Sunday what the true argument of the chapter was. What I had before was okay, but after literally years of working with this topic (chapter 1 had its earliest origins as a term paper my first semester of grad school), I finally began to realize what was going on.
Although I’ve shared more recently of stories from my research, I still don’t like to talk in explicit terms about my arguments in the various chapters of the dissertation. What I will say, though, is that there was something in this legislation I discuss that had puzzled me for years. Last weekend, I finally realized what was going on, what it meant, and what the broader consequences of it were.
Yes, that is my incredibly vague way of saying that things finally clicked. Yes, it took me long enough – but keep in mind that I wrote this chapter more than a year ago (it was the second chapter I ever wrote), and while it relates directly to the dissertation as a whole, it’s a subject that I don’t actually return to again for the rest of the dissertation (in a sense). So in some ways, it took so long because I hadn’t actually thought about the chapter for awhile.
Although I haven’t started today’s revision session, things seem like they’re falling into place. I need to finesse a few things, tighten up the intro and the conclusion, read it again, and do any additional minor things. It still won’t be perfect, but it’s getting much better.
So if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a chapter to keep revising…