I'm trying to work on a second draft of a chapter which I'll be submitting on Monday or so for upgrade. I'm not trying to do a complete overhaul but my supervisor wants it to be more punchy and confident, making every word count, and has suggested I re-read it, decide what it is I'm trying to say and then say it. The trouble is I've been looking at this thing every day and now I can't think of it looking any way other than how it does. I've changed lots of little bits and clarified some things but the majority I just can't seem to rethink at all. Any recommendations on how to distance myself from it? I find it easy to see what's wrong with something when I return to it after a few weeks, but not a few hours. Sadly I don't have a few weeks... :$
You say you've changed lots of little bits but have you tried reviewing the overall structure? I find it helps to write down a sentence for each paragraph explaining what I want it to do, then see if they match up. That helps me to move things around, cut unnecessary bits out.
I know how hard it is though, you have my sympathies!
Could you maybe give it to have a look through someone who isn't in academia? I always give my assignments to my boyfriend to read through, because although he has done a BA, it was in a completely different discipline to me and he's now just in a normal job. I find that when things aren't clear, he picks up on them straight away. Also, when I waffle on and use far too many words to expplain something, he'll tell me. I think when you're so absorbed in your work it's easy presume that everything is clear and nothing needs to be cut out or changed- this is always how I feel, but then giving my work to my boyfriend always shows that it isn't the case!
Hope this helps,
Also, just to add, could you maybe leave it a few days and then look at it again, maybe on Friday? Then you'd have the weekend to revise anything. I understand that you have a short time-scale, but looking at it everyday it's no wonder you're finding it hard to get a clear head on it!
I am in a similar situation at the moment - writing/rewriting a draft paper and I have just been looking at it for too long... Unfortunately I have found no good alternative than to just not read it for a while in order to seeing things more clearly. What I am going to do later today is to have a tea break and then imagine and pretend that this is the first time I am reading it. I will be checking that the structure is logical, all info is absolutely necessary (I am bad with redundant or not absolute essential material) and my discussion & conclusions are supported by the data. I am trying to be strict, but it is obviously hard when looking at one's own work. Anyway, best of luck with it (and the upgrade!)..(sprout)
Thanks all - I will now feel justified leaving it for a bit. I shall have a look again on Friday! I hope it will not then prove to be as terrible as I fear. I'll also try and convince my other half to have a look (although I'm not sure he'll be up for all 25 pages). Now I have to decide whether to stop for the day or get on with one of the many other things on my list... Sometimes I wish I had a job that stopped with snow!
Hey! I also have problems with this- sometimes I re-read stuff again and again, yet miss spelling mistakes, missed out words etc. I even submitted a paper to a journal with a missing word in the abstract which only got picked up in the proof stages- I couldn't believe both me and my supervisor missed it so many times, but that's what happens! I would try leaving it for a few days, as the others have suggested, and when you do read it, just do it a section at a time and then do something else in between, so that you don't get into the 'scanning but not really reading' stages- it's so easy to end up doing that and not really take anything in. Good luck! KB
Masters DegreesSearch For Masters Degrees
An active and supportive community.
Support and advice from your peers.
Your postgraduate questions answered.
Use your experience to help others.
Enter your email address below to get started with your forum account
Enter your username below to login to your account
An email has been sent to your email account along with instructions on how to reset your password. If you do not recieve your email, or have any futher problems accessing your account, then please contact our customer support.
or continue as guest