Sunday, September 01, 2013

Not a "rocky horror": In just seven days I can make you a plan

Reading Thomson And Kamler's (2013) Writing for peer review journals has been a liberating experience.
Or perhaps the invite to join some friends on an unplanned, but much appreciated writing weekend.
Here's the motivational setting.

My guilt in completing a thesis but not finding writing time is placated.
I resurrected the article i had intended for the last ten months. I had already identified its readership, missed two deadlines, and feared being guzzumped on the subject i had spent 8 years studying.

Having applied for, an won, a writing scholarship and renegotiated many of my paid work place commitments at short notice, I embarked on a weekend's writing retreat with two friends.

Instead of throwing myself at the wriitng, i chose to sneak into the writing space, reading about writing as a motivational taster. It worked.

I initially found this book annoying, Chapters 1-3 on identity and voice were not areas I felt i had a need to revisit, so skim read through these. I wrote strongly in my thesis.
I liked what i saw in chapters 3-6. Seemed i could map the work- the abstract as a performance of four moves, and it felt comfortable- resonating with what i felt i already accepted as necessary. It felt affirming.
I resurrected my article, the abstract i had was too long- too long for its intended journal by 100%
Nonetheless I applied the concept of Thomson and Kamler's 4 moves (see Thomson and Kamler, 2013, p. 61)
The following is a synopsis of these moves:

Locate: placing the paper in context of the discourse community. Larger issues and debates being named and potentially problematized. This creates a warrant for the contribution being made and its significance.
Focus: identifies the particular question/s, issues of kinds of problems that the paper will explore, examine and/or investigate.
Report: outlines the research, sample, method of analysis, - assures reader of credibility
Argue: opening up the specific argument through offering analysis. Moves beyond description and may include theorization in order to explain findings. May offer speculations but will always have a point of view and a stance. It returns to the opening locate in order to demonstrate the specific contribution that was promised at the outset. It answers the so what and the now what questions.

So taking my document (abstract and semi-written article), I could easily highlight where I had made these four moves.
I felt affirmed in that my abstract matched these moves perfectly. This in itself alleviated my unexpressed identity and anxiety of not feeling good enough or fear in being judged and potentially being found wanting. (My recovery from PhD submission even in knowledge of passing seems to be taking longer thn i had initially supposed.)

That my abstract was too long was now reasonably easy to address. I would still need each of the areas addressed so it would take pruning in each area; no one move would be deleted. This proved an excellent strategy.

One morning's work and I now have an abstract of required length, and from this tiny text established a road map to work with.

Instead of feeling a rocky horror of despondency, I have a plan, and instead of feeling fraught with knowing this month i dont have uninterrupted writing time I know i can establish workable chunks that are not too big for the times i have available.
This afternoon's plan: Draw up a road map chart (see Thomson and Kamler, 2013, p. 92) and establish the word expenditure section by section.

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