I’m in a revising and editing class, which has been an amazing class. For our major assignment, we had to make a substantial revision by taking some sort of essay and changing the audience.
I had an essay about German resistance in Nazi Germany, and so I changed the audience from historical to philosophical, basically.
Then I started. And holy cow, I have learned a lot from this essay.
First of all, I had to narrow my subject. After I had a subject, I had to research. Throughout all my undergraduate work, I have never had to do a research paper. This was my first one. And I really am wanting to do more. I do not have the motivation to research on my own, but I like doing it.
Anyway. I wrote my rough draft, which was 12 pages of wanderings. Then I revised and rewrote and added in moral theories here and there and researched and worked.
I started feeling a bit lost. Then today, in class, I was talking about my paper to someone, and I finally understood what I wanted to say with this essay.
It’s sort of funny. Through all my drafts, I didn’t really have a conclusion to draw. I was just asking questions and putting information on the page. But a conclusion started to come out in what I was writing. I finally realized what it was today, and now I can go forward and finish the essay.
So. The moral of this whole story is: Sometimes you don’t know what you are saying until you start writing. And then, if you press forward and keep reworking it, somewhere along the line, you’ll discover your main point.
I think most of the times we start off writing our “thesis statements” much too soon. Whenever I start off with a thesis statement, my paper falls flat. Whenever I start off with a subject, a desire to learn more, and no idea what I’m going to say, I come up with something interesting.