The final version of my research paper is due on Wednesday and I am almost finished! I am currently proofreading and making minor edits, winding the process down. For this last set of edits, I had to re-work my introduction again, much to my chagrin at first. I realized, however, after making said edits that they were entirely necessary. In fact, my introduction now fits well with the rest of my paper, much more so than it did when I first wrote it. I also finally fully developed my argument and also discovered a methodology that suits my paper perfectly.
The editing process was difficult at times. If my post from last week was any indicator, I had some low points and doubts about myself as a historian and writer. And yet, despite those growing pains, I am quite proud of the (almost) finished product and I feel that I have improved tremendously, not only in my writing but also my skills as a historian. I can now write without using passive voice and this is HUGE for me. I never paid attention to passive voice versus active voice prior to beginning this project and now I see passive voice everywhere (including this post, ironically enough). Avoiding passive voice definitely makes for a much more enjoyable read.
Lastly, I have to admit that I came into this project thinking it would be a breeze. I have written tons of papers in the past and it typically is not much of a struggle for me. This project, however, pushed me out of my comfort zone and proved to be one of the most difficult challenges I have faced in graduate school. As I mentioned above, however, I truly think this process has allowed me to grow tremendously and I am grateful it pushed me the way that it did.