Turning digital distraction into dissertation action:

Its that time of year again- the days are long, parks and pavements overflow with people lounging in carefree, sunny idleness and my study self pity-o-meter rises in time with the mercury and surrounding sense of good times being had by all. Autumn is coming and with it my dissertation deadline and time spent away from research and writing is imbued with a hazy sense of guilt.

The crisp new notepad and fancy stationary once filled with so much hopeful potential, languish hidden under non-research books and thrashy magazines. Microsoft Word’s blank document lies minimised and accusingly under multiple social media and news tabs. Its like a never ending Sunday evening-school in the morning-no homework done-Glenroe theme tune on a loop nightmare.

I just want to punch myself in the face but instead I breathe into a brown paper bag and remember there is a way out. I can break the deadlock of crippling guilt and procrastination by sneaking up on the project sideways.

So I’m back writing again by using google docs, twitter and generative writing as a placebo to combat my delayed writing syndrome. Fellow dissertation detainees, there is hope, you too can emerge blinking briefly into the sun by breaking down the task into bite size pieces.

If (like me) you are spending most of your time talking, thinking and dreaming about your research then you can write a brief paragraph containing even very disordered thoughts. Or think of it as a note to remind yourself to look in to something/refer back to an argument. Short notes that hold no weight are much easier to motivate yourself to write but have a handy tendency to clarify a point of thinking or to generate something that turns out to be somewhat more than a short note (hence generative writing or stealth writing as I like to call). It won’t write your dissertation for you or get you out of the tedious editing process but it is a relatively painless way to combat an inability (or more accurately in my case, a refusal) to write. Think of it as like applying a local anesthetic to your procrastination. You don’t have to make friends with the pain, just try to out fox it!

This blog post was brought to you by a note I was e-mailing myself to get back into a ‘little and often’ style of writing.

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