The Revisionist, Cont.

Let me tell you the truth.

Revising chapter 2 scares the bejeebies out of me. Chapter 2 was the first chapter I ever wrote, back in February and March of 2009. Then I revised the chapter significantly last February to refocus it. Even then, it wasn’t quite there. I thought, at the time, that it was about a certain theme.

Advisor read it and said, “I know we’ve talked about this a lot, and I know I encouraged you to look down this line of thought – but I’m not sure this chapter is about this theme at all. Spend some more time with this.”

Once again, the pieces are there. Haphazardly at least. I love this chapter in so many ways. The subject matter fascinates me. The evidence is amazing. Now if I could just see the forest for the trees, I’d be a huge step closer.

Last week with chapter 1, the issue was that it took me that long to simply figure out what the argument was. Now – well, I think I’ve got the argument (it just needs some slight tweaking from what it was, I think). Now it’s simply a matter of making sure it’s just so.

But the problem right now is confidence, I think. That’s the way it goes with dissertating. Some days there’s bravado and some days there’s reluctance to get started. Today is the latter, but I’ve learned that reluctance is simply something to be ignored.

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2 thoughts on “The Revisionist, Cont.

  1. Someday I’d love to talk to your about the rhythm that you’ve found for research, writing, rewriting–did you do all your research first before writing, as some people do, or did you work on both at the same time, as I tend to do, simply because writing is the act of thinking through–of putting into words–the inchoate thoughts in my head that constantly need refinement.

    Good luck this week on the ominous chapter 2!

  2. I definitely did both at the same time. I started writing in spring 2009, and at that point I’d only done a few archival trips. I wrote the first drafts of both chapters 1 and 2 that spring, then went to something like 6 more archives after that. I’m a HUGE “have to revise!” person in order to refine things, so I definitely wanted to start early on the writing. 🙂

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