Anti-climax of finishing my first draft: what do you do during revision months?


hi guys, so I have now completed and handed in my first draft which has taken me over four years after various bad experiences with supervisors. i thought i'd be over the moon, but i feel lost.

what do you do next. i know my thesis is still over the word count and some arguments could be better. am aware that i could work on these but am wondering if i should wait to hear from my supervisor first.

what did you guys do after your first draft. what do people do in the corrections phase? do you just keep improving. how did you manage your time. did you allocate a week to improve each chapter?

i need some guidance here so i don't laze about and waste more time. i want to be done asap.

a list of things i could check and work on would really been helpful from those who've been there.

thanks a lot guys!


I took a break and waited until I got the detailed feedback back from my supervisors. I was worn out by producing that first full draft, and I needed the break. And I figured there was very little I could usefully do until I heard from the sups - no point guessing what they'd say, and possibly changing things they thought were fine. Also once you start the final revisions it's very intensive, so it can be a really good idea to take a break now while you can.

If you must do something could you work on the bibliography or something? Is that done? And what about your abstract? And acknowledgements?

But I do think having a break has a lot to be said for it.


the problem is am afraid of a break because i think i might forget my argument! sigh... and spend ages trying to remember it!

but you're probably right. i have written the abstract and acknowledgement (which keeps changing!). i could do my bibliography.

My list:

1) bibliography.


======= Date Modified 27 Jun 2010 12:14:23 =======
Hey Jojo

Well done!! Congrats - that's excellent!! But I can understand the feeling of anti-climax - I think we're too tired to be excited about anything, even the prospect of finishing. I hope to be where you are in 3 weeks. My full draft will be the body of the chapters, without all the beginnings and endings to the thesis, so I have a looong list of things to do while my supervisors go over this. You might've already done all these things, but here's what I'll be doing:
- completing all references, and adding these into bibliography
- double checking all references against bib to make sure they're listed, and also to make sure multiple entries for authors are correct - examiners hate sloppy bibliographies.
- formatting headings
- formatting tables and figures, making these pretty
- double checking table of contents
- going through and making sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes, especially checking my tenses

Hmm, I think that's it for the moment...Good luck!!


JoJo...I am at the same stage of waiting for feedback on the first draft and I have to agree with Bilbo, there isn't really that much you can do. It has taken me about 2 weeks to wind down and stop feeling guilty about not working on it.
( I have distracted myself with bits of DIY and baking!)
But you will feel so much better or a complete break, so that when you get feedback you are fresh to look at the work again.

I also plan to allocate about a week per chapter to revisions, but of course his might change dependent on the feedback!

If I get truely restless I might start to tidy up my bibliography spreadsheet so that it is ready to import into word later, or do a bit on any appendices ( if you have any)
But make sure you have a proper break!

I have the luxury of being able to treat myself to my first holiday in 4 years! So getting away from internet and computers should really help. If you are not able to do this, at least close the door on your office, or tidy all your files away for a bit so they are not there tempting you to work.

Hope this helps


thanks guys.... your lists are really helpful. other circumstances have forced me to take a break - a one week break. my supervisor has also got back to me and we're meeting on friday! that's a record - he'll have read my entire thesis and got back to me in a week!

am so impressed!