March Update: Defense Date and the Ever Continuous Writing Process

I cannot believe that it is less than a month until my thesis is due. It is a very odd thing looking back over outlines and completed chapters or chapter drafts and realizing that this is the manifestation of nearly two years of research. Two years of pouring over countless secondary sources, memoirs, and hundreds of hours looking at primary sources in archives here and overseas. Over spring break, I managed to complete my introduction and finish collecting the last few quotes for my remaining chapters. I was a little nervous at first, thinking about the prospect of writing two more chapters in March. But, after reading over my detailed outline, I am not as concerned. Considering the substantial changes I made to my outline and sections in January, I have felt more comfortable approaching the writing process. I don’t feel as if I am stretching myself too much by making a point. Also, breaking up the writing process into multiple shorter chapters has tricked my mind into thinking of it as a less daunting process. 

How do I cope with this month countdown to thesis submission? Honestly, some days, I find that I just cannot write and rather than force myself to write and end up having to only rewrite it later, I just step away. Other days, I find that I can crank out half a chapter draft in a day (or, one day, as I did with my introduction). Long walks, carefully curated music playlists, and venting about life choices in deciding to write a thesis with a close friend have been helpful to me. Thanks for listening to the venting by the way (you know who you are and I am very appreciative of it). 

Now, this week, I am finishing my background chapter on the Royal Flying Corps’ formation and structure and, hopefully, I intend to finish rough drafts of the other two shorter chapters (image and reality of war) next week. Sitting in Blair all day yesterday, I took an hour and wrote down an overview outline of my entire thesis on a whiteboard and the last few formatting  things I wanted to do before April 12. This helped me gather my thoughts for the last writing push and to begin thinking about my defense. Last week, my advisor confirmed my defense date for April 24. Honestly, it is both terrifying and a relief to have the date set in stone. But, after two years of researching my topic, I am so passionate about my topic that, ultimately, I am excited to present it to my advisor and committee, who are professors that I greatly admire and have supported me throughout this whole process. I have a lot to be grateful and excited for.