Writing and the big picture

Lately, when writing papers and articles intended for an academic audience, I often find I can’t clearly articulate my thoughts. I’ve been working on a paper with my husband about the parallels and paradoxes of the one-on-one instrumental lesson and the supervisor/candidate meeting. I’ve had real trouble articulating what I am trying to say. My writing process has turned into the following:

  1. Spend quite a few hours discussing ideas with co-author over wine and walking the dog.
  2. Depending on mood, write 3500 words of diatribe and rant about role as PhD candidate and role as singing teacher and what the expectations of each are supposed to be. Feel virtuous, if angry.
  3. Leave rant for three weeks. Discuss paper with co-author many times over wine.
  4. Read co-author’s contribution – elegant, straightforward and reasonable.
  5. Feel miserable. Re-read own rant. Start to see themes emerging. Feel a bit better.
  6. Decide to really think about paper about three weeks out from conference.
  7. Aha moment two weeks out from conference – use HEADERS. Wonder why I didn’t think of this three months ago.
  8. Begin to match rant with motivation theories, use Deci and Ryan’s Self Determination Theory (1986, 2000) for goal pursuits and meeting psychological needs.
  9. Have glasses of wine, stay up very late, begin to shape paper (written, to be read aloud) under Competence, Autonomy and Relatedness.
  10. One week out from conference, get up early, spend two hours rewriting because don’t want accusations of superficiality about the theory being bandied about.
  11. Recharge the laptop and start again. Slice and refine 3500 words down to 1000.
  12. Finish power point and add pretty pictures. Discuss with co-author about writing it up as an article.

Sigh. PhD will never get done.



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