Cogs and Wheels: The material culture of revolutionary China

February 21, 2007

Argh! Writing…

Filed under: My research, Writing — amyjaneb @ 6:12 pm

I’m trying to write a paper for presentation at my Department’s research seminar series in about three weeks.  It’s going to be based on the chapter I drafted in November.  Somehow I’ve got to condense 16,000 words into a forty minute-or so talk.  It’s proving to be a real nightmare already.  But, I’ve found the tactic which seems to work best is to skim each section of my chapter and then launch into a brief summary of the content for my seminar paper. 

Nightmare it may be, but it has proven to me that when time is of the essence, I can pull things out of the bag at the last minute (three weeks may not seem like ‘at the last minute’, but for me – a near obsessional perfectionist – it’s pretty close to it).  Perhaps I really should start to believe the people who tell me – repeatedly – that I am capable of completing a thesis (theoretically sometime around October 2008).  At the moment I have resolved not to think about when I might submit.  That’s way too pressurising.  I’m telling myself I’ll need at least six months extra writing up time.  Which helps.  Not least because the thought of life sans PhD is too, too scary to contemplate.

Having said all that, I really do enjoy the writing process.  It’s takes a while to get started, but I quickly get into the zone and the words and sentences and paragraphs just flow out of me.  Admittedly, in fairly short bursts, and it takes a bit of editing, but mostly the structure is in my head already and I’m able to get fairly well-formed ideas on paper pretty much spontaneously.  Now, if I could just apply myself in the same manner to the rest of the time, life would be much less stressful!


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