A Plea for Your Help in Writing My Master’s Thesis

I’ve learned a lot of things about myself during my time in seminary. One thing I’ve learned for certain: writing for myself – outside of writing for classes and academic work – is next to impossible for me. I sink so much time and effort and mental energy into school work that I have none left over for any other creative outlet.

mastersthesis-225x300-1This blog clearly shows that. The number of original blog posts, rather than reproductions of school work, can be probably be counted on two hands over the last 2 years or so. I’ve alternated between feeling bad about this and not caring. Between energies spent elsewhere, and ever evolving feelings like about the political scene and my response to it, finding things to write here has become harder and harder and less important.

This year, my final year in seminary, I am going to be spending a lot of time writing my thesis, due in April of next year. My thesis work has been a great source of anxiety for me; the process of finding a topic, researching it exhaustively, and writing about it for upwards of 80 pages seems insurmountable on this side. The biggest hang up has been figuring out a topic, and what I think about that topic. I’ve bounced around so much, I am sure my advisers find me one of the flakiest aspiring theologians to ever walk the halls of academia.

I am finding that one thing that helps me discern direction and work on topics is feedback. Of course, this is also an anxiety-inducing thing, the putting out for public display my half-formed and still-developing thoughts on topics I’m not entirely sure I understand fully or can speak on coherently.

But, that’s what I’m going to try to do this year. As I go through this process, I am going to try out ideas and passages and arguments here that are part of my thesis, or that may be vaguely connected to it, or that may have been discarded but which I still find important. I am hoping to get some modicum of feedback as I do so from readers here, and in the process, strengthen my own writing and my thoughts.

So, in the end, this is me asking to please, engage what you find here in the future. It may not be regular posting or even coherent, but know that it is part of a process, and that it will hopefully contribute to a greater finished project that I can’t wait to share here.

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6 thoughts on “A Plea for Your Help in Writing My Master’s Thesis

  1. Cathy

    I hope to have more time this year to participate with you! But I applaud your desire for input and for putting yourself out there. With the current state of “discourse” in this country reduced to 140 characters of name calling, I am not sure I would be so brave.
    Have you considered taking a serious look at a position that you do not agree with? Is there a theology that you look at and think “wow, how did that ever get in the mix?” Could you tackle something that you think should not be? You have always found great passion and purpose in seeing something that was wrong and pointing out why you thought so. Maybe that could help you find focus now?
    Just my uneducated 2 cents. I have NO idea what you are facing! But if you need to bounce stuff around, I will always toss something back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Cathy! I appreciate the feedback. As will become more evident as I dig into the meat of my work, a big part of what I am doing is engaging with some traditions I’m generally highly critical of, and trying to see if they can inform the conclusions I am hoping to come to. That’s the hardest part for me: I am generally very good at dismissing things I don’t like!

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  2. Brandon was so negative about my thesis I thought I would have to pick a new topic and start over. I rewrote it and he said, “Nice piece of work.” He also said it was “too mechanical.” He gave me an A-, minus for mechanical, I guess. Just keep at it. You’ll get it right.

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  3. Pingback: Thesis Update: Reading List – Justin DaMetz

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