Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My 12 Step Dissertation Editing Program

Remember when I said it was all over but the crying and the editing?

I received the comments from my committee. I'm editing. And crying. And editing some more. That's the motivation for my slight nervous breakdown over the past couple of weeks. But we're on the mend, both the dissertation and me, so I shall forge ahead and begin posting for reals.

It turns out, dissertation editing is like a 12-step program (combined with a five stages of grief, or something. Anyway, there's a lot of stages!) When I started writing this post, I was mired somewhere in the hopelessness step (4?) Which is why it went unfinished for over a week. Here's the rundown I have lived through:

Step 1: Admit that I need to rewrite this.
Step 2: Believe in a higher power (in this case, my advisor, who was so right about so many things).
Step 3: Irrational anger at Advisor's comments.

This step involved actually throwing stuff at my computer screen and yelling at her margin comments. It wasn't a pretty phase. I'm very glad I got past it without destroying my beautiful flat-screen monitor.

Step 4: Hopelessness. I will never finish.
Step 5: Looking for reassurance from my peers.
Step 6: Receiving reassurance from my peers.
Step 7: Starting to feel like this thing is possible once again.

Actually, I received reassurance that the introduction and conclusion rewrites were much better, and have been told to go forward with the chapter edits. That is a long, tedious, but not particularly stressful process. Most of it is things like "fix passive voice" and such. I spend a lot of time these days on thesaurus.com to find just the right word, thus eliminating the need for extraneous adjectives and adverbs.

I look forward to:

Step 8: Finishing the detail work.
Step 9: Asking forgiveness of all the scholars I've debunked. (Ok, I shamelessly stole that from the Divine Miss M of my dissertation group! Too funny to pass up.)
Step 10: Receiving reassurance from my Advisor.
Step 11: Setting a defense date.
Step 12: Becoming a Ph.D.


Blogger K-Lyn said...

Are PHD candidates allowed to use the term "for reals"? If so, I promise to be much less intimidated acadamia now.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Quinn said...

Hells yes, I can say whatever I want.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Prof Mama said...

I think the 12 stages are pretty much dead-on. I would say, however, that's the steps are recursive--I returned to the "anger" and "hopelessness" stages many times.

But I got through it, and so will you. I even told The Advisor at my defense that she was right about my need to rewrite the chapter--the one I had revised 8 times and cussed her out for(in my head) during my many anger stages.

You can do it, and you WILL do it. That's the most important thing to remember.

4:29 PM  

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