Tried a new work strategy today of writing down everything I did and how long it took me to do it (hat-tip to galaxy). Not counting breaks and procrastination, I worked solidly for five and a half hours. That’s a bit embarrassing, but there you go. I’m tired now. My brain doesn’t want to make any more connections. The first thing I did was read over the last third of chapter 5, and identified the problem I was skirting and needed to be solved. I then re-read a few chapters/articles to help me clarify what I needed to understand. I then made a list of possible arguments/conclusions/implications. This cut through the block I had, as previously I had felt that I needed to come up with the answer straight away, couldn’t do it, and so avoided it. This time, I let myself think: ok, it might not be this, but it might be. And it might be this… Otherwise you manage to talk yourself out of all possible arguments and you never get anywhere.

Then I went back to another major critic and tried to clarify some more things. Realised that the problem I was having in chapter five was linked to some major contextualisation and positioning work that I need to do in the introduction. So wrote a list of things that I want to address in two to three paragraphs tomorrow, which will go into the introduction.

I’m still feeling a bit wary of theories and methodologies, but it’s got to be done. And attacking it through a problem that needs to be solved in my final chapter will (I hope) give me the clarity I need to start bringing it all together. I ended up with eleven scrawled pages of notes, and a couple of paragraph fragments that might make it into the thesis somewhere.

Even though this is still slow-going, at least I worked in a sensible, methodical manner today instead of throwing my hands up in despair. One day at a time!

Also, luckily, it’s raining. Rain is good for writing, good indeed. From my desk, I can see it channel down off the tin roof and hear it land in the courtyard puddles.


4 thoughts on “Strategies

  1. It’s true: one day at a time. And 5.5 hours isn’t so bad, frankly. If it makes you feel better, I’m steeling myself to write for just *one* hour per day when I get home. I’ll be teaching, sure, so it’s not as though writing will be my only job the way it was here. But even some days here, I had a hard time getting the one hour in. (Today, for instance, I want so much to sit and read Janet Frame instead of striving to finish the essay that I swore I’d finish before I left Cambridge!)

  2. thanks mum!

    thanks dr s! (look everyone, a real academic says 5.5 hours is ok) in your shoes right now i’d be eating cake at my favourite cafe. maybe taking my book with me and leaving the essay behind…

  3. 5 1/2 hours! If I did that much, without counting breaks and procrastination, I’d be very impressed with myself. I might do that much if I was allowed to count procrastination time ; ) Anyway, glad you’re on track.

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