You and your dissertation—nothing but trees

I know the feeling. Some days you’re utterly lost in the forest, and all you can see are trees and more trees. When you have a breakthrough—even a small one—the trees thin, and you spot a clearing ahead. A few moments of light … then you’re back in that forest.

I know. I’ve been there too.

It may seem hard to believe, but you will emerge—for good. You will get that dissertation done. If you have a supportive supervisor, count your blessings and most of all, take their feedback on board. Even if you don’t agree with all their comments, remember this: your dissertation is meant to fulfil a degree requirement. It is not meant to be a bestseller, and it is not going to change the world. (Actually, that should come as a relief!) If you’re planning to continue in academe, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to adapt and expand this work. But you need to finish it first.

A good supervisor will let you know while you’re drafting if you need to expand your arguments, consider other points of view, or reorganize or restructure. (Hint: you may have to initiate meetings or request feedback if your supervisor’s especially busy.)

Once all your content and structure are finalized, your supervisor may then recommend editing for consistency, grammar and other common mistakes, punctuation, and citation errors. Your supervisor may suggest editing before the defence date. But editing can also be helpful after the defence when you prepare the final version for your institution’s library.

This is when a professional editor can step in. At this stage, we can help you achieve your goal.

To be clear, editors can’t help grad students with substantive changes. We can’t restructure a thesis, add content, change wording, or track down source information. And usually we can’t help with formatting either. These are all part of fulfilling a degree requirement and must be wholly your own work.

But when your thesis is ready, an editor can help you produce a final project you’ll be proud of. Then you’ll have the enormous satisfaction of submitting a polished, professional thesis or dissertation to your institution.

At last, you’ll be out of the forest.

Let me know if I can help you get there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s