Getting stuck into writing

5 Jul

I have a conference paper due on Sunday. I’ve known about this paper for weeks, but I’m a masterful procrastinator. On the plus side, I’m really getting stuck in my writing. The problem is, I only ever seem to get in this frame of mind when there is an imminent deadline. Which is really not a good state of affairs, especially when I have another paper to write and thesis chapters to get through. I need to be able to keep up this writing momentum. I’m thinking at this stage that I need to dedicate my mornings to writing, and my afternoons to doing some research. Dedicating days at a time of writing just mean I get burn out and I end up procrastinating.

My hints for writing:

  • Dedicate some time each day and actually do it. This time should be for writing as in creating new words on paper, not editing the words you already have
  • Write as you go. Don’t try to write about what you did 6 months ago as you really don’t remember what you did and writing about it  will give you ideas that you should have thought about 6 months ago.
  • Work out how you work. I’m very much a big picture top down approach. I first need to write an out line (in bullet points) of things I need to cover. Then each point gets points on things I need to  cover to get to that point…. until I get to the stage where each point is. For me, a blank page that I need to fill up with properly structured sentences is scary,   filling it up with poorly structured grammatically challenged points is easy. Your millage may vary.
  • Write a talk. I like to keep my slides to be quite bare with minimum amount of words, which means I can focus on what I need to include and the structure rather than the actual words.
  • Try a standing desk. For some reason I work much better when standing. I’m much more focused on what I’m doing and less easily distracted. I can also listen to music and dance as I go.
  • Use the pomodoro technique. This technique is to set a timer for 25 minutes, work with no distractions for that time, then have a 5 minute break. Continue this for 2 hours and then have a longer break.

Looking at all these hints, it seems that most of them are just tricks to get you started in the writing. Once you start to write, it becomes easier. Now I just need a trick to keep the momentum going.

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