Preparing to write
In this post Mary Cryan outline her emerging academic practice. This has been reblogged from: http://marycryan2013.wordpress.com
I write everyday, it is a part of the day job, however it is some time since I have prepared to write anything longer than a few hundred words. I’ve been refecting on what worked for me during my MA.
I always started with the reading – Recommended reading first followed by anything that leaped out at me from references and further reading lists.
I thought hard about how to get the most out of my limited available reading time. Firstly I always made notes as I go along , if a text in my ownership marking important passages with a highlighter. Reading time always ran out so this time I have decided to set myself a reading schedule, a journal article or a book chapter on a week day and two or three a day at weekends.
Thinking time between reading is, I find, essential so not reading huge amounts at once seems like a good plan.
During this reading time hopefully the plan will come together . The first stage of planning for me is always a very untidy Mind Map drawing relationships between ideas together. I then refine this by drawing this up on the computer. I hope to use the app Popplet for this purpose.
At this stage I should be ready to write but I used to find that I wasn’t . What I have learnt about myself over the years is that this is the stage I need to trust my brain. It may be counter intuitive but this was when I must not try to start or I found myself spending a great deal of time staring at a blank screen. This is when I must just give myself a couple of days and go for a swim or work on my allotment to give my brain the chance to work out what comes next. During this time I have to try NOT to think about the task just to trust that the words will come.
It has taken me many years of studying to come to this level of trust in myself.
Then the writing starts and given enough coffee the words I trust will flow. They usually do.