So, what did I learn about my project through the process of writing the proposal draft?
First I learned that my vague ideas and rambling thoughts must be turned into concrete words, written on concrete paper (digital and wood fibered). The loosely connected neural pathways and over-arching concepts that henceforth had lived happily in the womb of my mind must find a new, much more risky life on paper for others to see and critique. Turning those ideas into words proved on some levels to be easy and on others to be difficult. How do you explain ideas that are actually very new to you in ways that make sense for much more experienced readers to read? You write. You do it because you are supposed to. And, you hope, that you don’t writing something embarrassing.
Second I learned, or rather confirmed, that I needed more in my historiography and probably need to expand the writing on some entries already in this section. This will come with time and I am looking forward to comments back from those scary, but oh so helpful, more experienced others. (Oh, sorry for the ‘othering’.)
Third I found that in actually writing down those thoughts running around in my brain, I found a more, seemingly solid, foundation for my project. I have a road map. It may change, but, by golly, I have one.
As for changes?
For me, I want add to my historiography, beyond that, I’m not sure. I look forward to comments.
And, I must say, the little neural pathways continue to dash around inside of my head…and some may find their way out.
8 Responses to Writing and Thesis Proposals
It is “risky” to put something out for others to read. Different but equally scary to presenting guests with a new dish at dinner. My failures there have been colossal, but I just keep cooking, and if the recipe seems worthy, I tinker next time. If not, I’ll find another recipe. So my kitchen is my metaphor for writing! I think, too, that the first effort to put ideas together is the hardest step to take in thesis writing. So, congrats to you and everyone else…you ran to first base-safely. Wow, I really am into metaphors this morning!
I often “wax eloquent” in metaphors – too many metaphors. I wonder how non-native English speakers ever catch on! I’ve sat across the table from many a confused person learning English as I casually drop in a metaphor that they take literally. Language is fascinating.
Have you ever tried the word vomit method of writing? I get a bunch of ideas about my project – particularly using the knowledge I already have / already absorbed – and just start writing whatever they are. Then I go through the books/resources I’d like to use and write down what they actually say. Many times, at least a few of those initial ideas actually line up with the historiographical literature.
It’s not an outline. More like academic stream of consciousness. Sometimes when I have *too* many ideas rattling around my head, it helps to just “vomit” them onto a page.
Thanks Kate for the advice and wonderful word picture. 🙂
I also found that just the act of writing my thoughts out in the proposal draft helped me create a more solid framework for my project. I think we are all worried about having turned in something that feels “unfinished,” but I guess that means we are all at the right stage in the process!
My historiography certainly needs a lot of work, so I understand being focused on polishing that, moving forward. I have similarly found that writing down any and every idea/critique/etc. has been especially helpful in better understanding what it is that I am trying to do in my project, as well as helpful in translating the chaos of the brain into coherent words, phrases, paragraphs. I actually keep a notebook with me to jot these things down, and at some point I imagine I will be able to look back and see the change I have made over time. Maybe we all would benefit from doing something similar?
I think it’s a wonderful idea Carmen! I always carry a small journal with me, but don’t always use it for ideas. I will start to try!
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