Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Writing. It's bloody hard. And frustrating

Trying to sort out what should be a fairly straight forward chapter - a definition of baby-farming in 19th Century England.  I'm surrounded by the fruits of my research, and I spent a couple of happy hours yesterday afternoon filing - the ultimate displacement activity.  It kind of helps - now I can find all the journal articles that I've printed out, and they're largely in some semblance of order - but I've also found the duplicates.  You know what I mean - you can't find something so you print it again.  Trees must really hate me.

I've managed about 400 words.  Some of them are pretty good, even if I say so myself, but I'm stuck.  I just don't know where to go from here.  I've got megabytes of photographs of mindmaps from my whiteboard.  I've got electronic mindmaps (thanks to PhD Pimpernel), and I've got reams of longhand notes (in purple ink - I'm currently obsessed with purple ink in my fountain pen).  I've got piles of references on my desk, I've spent a fortune on second hand books from Amazon marketplace, and the British Library have sent me a couple of 19th Century tomes.  I'm drowning in paper.

I need to stop thinking, and start writing.

I've tried different choices of music - from boppy and cheesy 1980s pop (Phil Lynott's 1982 solo album wasn't the pinacle of his achievement, I have to say), through Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Bombay Bicycle Club, Beethoven (desperation there), Bach and back again to Apocalyptica.   I've indulged in the new line of cookies that the campus shop is selling.  I've allowed myself some quality time on the Internet 'researching' The Only Way is Essex (Joey really is as dumb as soup - reminds me a bit of my ex-husband, strangely).  I've been to the gym for a fitness consultation with the small, but perfectly formed, Chris, and have agreed a new workout programme. I've bought new stationery (another lever arch file), and I've shopped on the internet.

I've even finished my marking and have checked the marks three times.  Things are getting desperate.


How the hell do I unblock this blockage?


  1. It sounds simple advice, but it worked for me - just write anything, anything to do with your topic. A blank page is the worst thing when you are blocked. Switch off the internet, and the phone (internet on the iphone or BB is still a distraction). Maybe put your mindmap into paragraphs. Hope that's even a bit helpful


  2. Hi Jan

    That's tomorrow's job. I just hope that something transpires. I think that I'm suffering from "over thinking" again - it's another case of JFDI!