One thing I am forcing myself to do lately is to write things almost freestyle without much consideration of sentence structure, grammar or spelling (some people might say that I have always written like that…). I’m trying to get into the habit of getting it written rather than getting it RIGHT. I’m the kind of person who will go over and over the same introductory paragraphs till they gleam (or are really boring…) and still not have a middle or an end. But my i’s will be dotted, my t’s will be crossed…
I’m about half way through the rough first draft of a paper on New Age Bio Medical Conspiracy theories for a religious studies conference in September. I KNOW that there are parts that dont make any sense yet, I KNOW that I’ve still got some things in bullet points that need expanding, but today I want to get to the end of that first draft and finesse it all later. Likewise with the Powerpoint presentation for the paper, I KNOW that I havent got quite the perfect picture for slide 6 yet, or the right font size and layout all the way through. But I need to charge on to the end to get it done, then get it GOOD.
Likewise for this blog post. Usually I will stop after a paragraph and mooch around the internet to look for an amusing picture to stick in to show of my wit and intelligence (yes, I am one of those people…). This time I am just barrelling through with very little editing and I’ll stick some pictures in once I am done. Like this cute kitten:
Changing my work style is necessary I think. In part I think this is a more productive way to work, I have 80,000 words to get written for my thesis. They cant possible be all individually handcrafted little gems, even if I hope the overall argument will be! I do feel a little like I have hit the mid-PhD slump Patrick Longston writes about here, and his tips are very useful. But freewriting about the problems you are having was one of the techniques I was shown at the Writing Summer School I mentioned before, and I do think its extremely useful to get you into the writing action when you get jammed up by procrastination and anxiety.
So today…. I’m going to finish that rough draft of the conference paper, even if I write it in a very slapdash way for now. A key phrase from the Summer school: “Give yourself permission to write badly”. What a relief THAT is….