Tag Archives: reading; academic writing

Reading notes

I turned to my reading last night to get my writing back on track. It hadn’t gone wildly off course but with a bit of travelling and occupied head space after some family funerals last week I was starting to feel disconnected from my writing process, rushing from one task to the next in my desire to tick things off my to-do list. So I’d gone to bed early with my books, listening to the rain on the tin roof and the wind hissing through the barely open window. Picking up the books I was reading (about writing) gives me time to slow the pace down and to reflect on my processes of writing, reading and thinking. It legitimises spending time thinking and writing about writing. The imposter monster lurking in the critical part of my brain wonders if this reading, writing and thinking about writing takes time away from ‘proper’ writing, but I tell the imposter monster to be quiet and leave meĀ  to my journey.

I smiled when I opened Goodson’s book and read exercises 7 and 8 as both of them were things I’d done during the course of the week. I’d read exercise 7 earlier and it must have been subconsciously ticking away in my brain, but that coupled with the need to reflect on and make sense of some data analysis had led me to write a blog post on the ways I was analysing data, the way my ideas were become more refined and the steps I was taking in the analysis process. I’ve become strangely addicted to my excel spreadsheet writing log. I’ve never loved excel the way I am at the moment. Each time I open my spreadsheet I get a little zing of pleasure as I look at what types of writing I’ve been doing. There it is laid out before me, my progress or lack thereof. Nothing like that to keep you either a) inspired or b) terrified.

Rather than have a separate writing journal for projects, I’ve started new columns in my excel log where I take more detailed notes about what I’m up to in particular writing pieces so that the log doesn’t become just a record of time and task, but also of next steps and development of ideas. Things that I want to write about in more detail become longer pieces written in notepad or saved in my word writing file-a word folder with entries about the process of writing across a range of projects. Having my mega excel log is easier for my brain to deal with -I have a tendency to be terrible at version control and so one log with notes is easier than a log and journals for individual projects. It’s all horses for courses though and so while this works for me, I’m sure that other people would find it clumsy and cumbersome.

The other thing I’d been doing was doing what Goodson refers to as writing to learn, and I’d had Richardson’s notion of writing oneself into understanding in my head as well. A lot of the writing I’d done over the week hadn’t been academic in nature, but rather a way to unpack the week that was. At first glance it seems totally removed from the work writing I should be thinking about, but somewhere in there are moments of clarity, things that enable me to move forwards, backwards, sidewards and back to my work. I think I was writing in the spaces in between, using words to make a bridge to get me where I needed to go. Out of context that probably doesn’t make much sense, and maybe one day I’ll post that writing too, as a way of showing how the personal leads to the professional and back again.