How to Deal with Drafts of Your Thesis

The following is taken from Questia:

I should have used the “comment and correction" in either Word or Pages in all my earlier versions and also saved some clean with comments and corrections all removed-versions.  The good thing for keeping the ones that have the comments and corrections allows one to find and keep track of something which was first written but then crossed out but later found useful again.

Saving all new versions can be confusing when they become too many.  The search-out files in PC or Mac are just too many which become quite useless and time-consuming for tracing things that one wants to retrieve.

Live with Writing Mistakes

Writing expert Peter Elbow uses an interesting approach to the physical process of putting words on paper that may work for you, too. In his book Writing with Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process 2nd ed., (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 28, he says, “Gradually I have learned not to stop and cross out something I’ve just written when I change my mind. I just leave it there and write my new word or phrase on a new line."
Elbow goes on to explain.

What is involved here is developing an increased tolerance for letting mistakes show. If you find yourself crumpling up your sheet of paper and throwing it away and starting with a new one every time you change your mind, you are really saying, I must destroy all evidence of mistakes." Not quite so extreme is the person who scribbles over every mistake so avidly that not even the tail of the “y" is visible. Stopping to cross out mistakes doesn’t just waste psychic energy, it distracts you from full concentration on what you are trying to say.
What’s more, I’ve found that leaving mistakes uncrossed out somehow makes it easier for me to revise. When I cross out all my mistakes, I end up with a draft. And a draft is hard to revise because it is a complete whole. But when I leave my first choices there littering my page along with some second and third choices, I don’t have a draft, I just have a succession of ingredients. Often it is easier to whip that succession of ingredients into something usable than, as it were, to undo that completed draft and turn it into a better draft. It turns out I can just trundle through that pile of ingredients, slash out some words and sections, rearrange some bits, and end up with something quite usable. And quite often I discover in retrospect that my original “mistaken phrase" is really better than what I replaced it with: more lively or closer to what I end up saying.

Elbow has many valuable tips and insights. Find them in Writing with Power: Techniques for Mastering the writing Process.


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