December Update: Reflection on Thesis Writing Progress and Plans for Break

Since August, I have completed nearly twenty pages of my thesis. Earlier in the semester, I focused primarily on creating a skeletal outline of how I wanted my thesis to look. As I was still trying to figure out how many chapters I want to have in my thesis, this stage of the writing progress mainly focused on putting down my rough thoughts I had for chapters and the different sources and general ideas for each. After having a meeting with my advisor in mid-October, I had a better idea of how I wanted to organize my thesis. Working with the skeletal outline, I finalized the topics for each of the chapters and the sources and ideas that I needed for each. With the advice of my advisor and honors seminar professor, I created a rough estimate of how I wanted each chapter to be in order to avoid going over the maximum page count set by the department. Having a rough page count was extremely helpful to me, as it not only put my end goal in a concrete number, but it also made it easier to approach each chapter with a page goal in mind. As of now, I am aiming for around 10-15 pages per chapter, with my film chapter being a bit longer (as it is now around 20 pages). 

November is where I made a lot of progress. With a substantial outline done for the whole thesis,  I decided on which chapter I wanted to complete a draft of: my film representations chapter. Over the course of the month, I finished gathering quotes from sources and finalizing the sub-sections for each example I wanted to focus on. Over Thanksgiving break, I completed a rough draft of the chapter and submitted an edited version to my advisor a few days before winter break  began.

Unfortunately, I was unable to meet with my advisor before I left for winter break. As I sent him an edited version of my chapter, I am waiting to hear back from him about his thoughts and proposed corrections for the chapter before I approach another round of edits. After that, I will have one polished chapter of my thesis done! Until then, my goal for winter break is to thoroughly outline the rest of my chapters for the thesis. As of now, I have the general topics and ideas I want to address in each, but the main bulk of work over break will be fleshing out the outline with quotes from sources that support my argument for each of the sections. I chose to take the outline approach rather than a full draft of the thesis because since my advisor has not gotten back to me on how my chapter draft went, I would rather write an outline because it can be easily edited to suit his suggestions. 

In all honesty, the thing relating to my thesis that I am most proud of is my attitude towards my topic and research at this stage. Talking to other history majors that completed an honors thesis, I heard horror stories about people getting fed up with their topics by the end of the first semester focused on the writing process. Even going into my research visit to England this past May, I was worried about possibly becoming tired of my topic before I even began writing, as my research process began in Summer 2017 with my first visit to England. However, with a full semester of work behind me, I am still excited about my topic. Although the writing process is tiring, I still find the research fascinating and continue coming up with new ideas and ways to approach my topic and subsequent argument. Still having a passion for my topic makes me want to see the writing process through. That in itself is my biggest motivation for my work this break.

I hope everyone has a happy and relaxing holiday season!