Monday, September 30, 2013

Write an academic paper in 7 days; 2nd attempt

i am on a writing scholarship where the committment is 3 papers in 3 months; i am in my second month.

Last month's goal was met; though the 7 day wonder wasnt. I remain, however, hopeful.

The best resource i found last month was Thomson and Kamlers (2013) Writing for peer reviewed journals. The tiny text based on the abstract made it very explicit where i was up to at any one time.

This month my intention is a conference paper that i also hope to submit as a journal article.
I have 4 more days to write the paper.
The abstract is written.

I have based it on Guggenheim's argument that to to write academically may betray the subject.
i have taken this a step further.
To write in academicese about txting betrays not just the form of the subject written of, but also those whose activities i engaged with.

It is therefore being crafted in txt spk.

Today i have not progressed it much; i have instead been foraging in literatures of textuality and identity; and in discourses of conformity, colonization and oppression.

I had naively believed that i would be writing of what was in my thesis, and yet there is more literature i find i am needing to call on.

However: Back to the plan.
The direction is an 8 page document with an abstract of 350-400 words.
Todays, and yesterday's goal: Write the abstract and turn this into a 'tiny text' = a map for the paper.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Writing the peer review article in one month

Its all but done.
The critique came back SEND it. it's damn good


So i then mucked about a little further, proofed, expanded some referencing
Looked at how the explaining of the study and its ethics might be incorporated with more discussion or reduced to a footnote. Opted mildly for the first and decided there was another journal article to be had on sensitive ethics.
Updated a couple of references, expanding- and balancing the article.

Then got stuck into the formatting
And discovered that's not a couple of hours type of thing.

Took me a full day, a full 9.00AM to 11.00PM type of day, minus 4 hrs when i was out

And this was already a pretty clean copy.

But the instructions for the journal were not crystal clear.

So there was a little bit of juggling and time wasting in some of the decisions to be made. Beating the thing around a little to fit the constraints of only certain types of headings and subheadings and pagination, and spacing, and font choices, and figures and tables...

But its done (and i found a tiny error in the phd, of a doubled up tiny segment in one of hundreds of my references. Always good to know the human touch is there. I do so like seeing the humanity involved.)

SO its now sent off to the organization to check they are still giving consent to be named

Then it will be off to the journal, with a request for receipt so as to provide evidence justifying the scholarship i had been awarded.

This month felt really tight- am hoping that next months will be easier.

Now that my personal copy of Thomson and Kamler's (2013) book Writing for Peer reviewed Journals has arrived, it might be timely for me to read the sections (beginning and end) that i only skimmed before.

Next immediate goal... #nlc paper- abstract already written. And at least one journal pub.

Consider a further paper for same conference?
Prioritize other potential writing: positioning similar content but for the international scene, different variation focusing on youth empowerment; focus on ANT methodology; sensitive ethics; conference symposium paper and a conference paper?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Rewriting the article in the face of feedback

Had to be too good to be true, writing to the plan did not work as well as i had hoped.

In the face of some very constructive feedback, i would say that what i had written was devoid of humanity; odd ofr a paper on counselling. Seemed i had become incredibly starchy in my approach, my own voice dropped.
i had skipped the first half of Thomson and Kamler's (2013)book believing that because i had found my voice in my thesis, lost it in the interim waiting for the thesis too be marked, that since the thesis had passed my voice would be back.
It wasn't.
I'd found this writing tortured. i thought it was because the formality of a journal required the sanitized starchiness of crisp linen.
What i'd produced was less attractive.
And then if I was reading it, would i want the sanitized. washed, clean,pressed version?
Would I rather have an article i could climb into?

So a week of rewriting.
I am happier with it.
Putting it back out there for some more critical review.

Friday, September 13, 2013

writing to the plan

4 days on a writing retreat and the article that i had mapped out last December, and trickled the writing thereof over an exceptionally busy half year, plus a weeken dof writing just before life got in the way, is now done...or at least a fully fledged and fairly sweet first copy.
The image below is the view I have been writing to today.

Taking the tiny text and writing to the plan is done!
Todays task was the fourth movement, presenting the argument that the data supports.
While its shorter than anticipated, its long enough in reiterating the components from the preceding sections.
The section was written by morning tea time! And then editted through to lunch. i think its time to get some external eyes on it...but may also check out some other web site advice on writing in 7 days from Inger Mewburn that i should be able to locate on the thesiswhisperer blog and also the writing a scholarly article stuff that i know is over on the Pat Thompson's patter blog.

All seems a bit easy today, too easy?
The article is currently at 5200 words and will need some trimming, word limit being 5000

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Writing to the plan

The tiny text plan is working.

I'd colour coded the abstract that provided me with four major moves.
I then started writing to the plan, workied ok in section one, the why of the research. Got a little unsure in section 2 and began to meander as i am want to do. Popped in some headers on each page reminding me of the section i was intending to address. Then colour coded my sections to match the coding in the abstract. Much less straying.
Got into the third section (data and analysis) i started writing, however this was before i established quite how i was going to address the mess inside my head. Once i found a way into the structure that would leave a lot of stuff out and reconfigure some of the other stuff i knew, i was able to provide some subsections. This led to my revisiting the abstract, rewriting my intent to match what i had done, and again I could then write to the plan.
The article is now 3/4s done; pretty tidy if i say so myself.
That section was bigger than intended, but the one before it was smaller.
I feel like the balancing of weighting regarding the four moves has been reasonable, as has the balancing of how I've addressed the data.

Ive never written in such a delineated way before and it really is liberating.
Historically i have written me a river, then put in the banks and dykes when it wandered all over the place.
This way of writing is so much less wasteful of words.
Last section to address is the argument that the data led me to. I now know where to start tomorrow.
And having the plan I know that even if life gets in the way i can stop or start knowing exactly where i am up to and where to launch off from.

Where I'm writing on my writing retreat; the Waiwera tidal estuary. Not where the arrow points (thats pointing to where i had a honeymoon! Its for sale if i suddenly come into money... the pictures borrowed off a real estate company) But just across the road on the waters edge. Probably a space at risk of flooding if global warming raises water levels. In the kitchen are also instructions regarding what to do in the event of a Tsunami warning.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Back to the plan.... In just (slightly more than 7 non consecutive days) I will have it done.

Life is what happens when your making other plans came home to me this last week.
There will always be things that get in the way of writing, at least Thomson and Kamler's (2013) writing for peer reviewed journals us of 'the tiny text' as a plan sustains me well through the angst of picking up a project (the article) and putting it down. With the tiny text providing guidance I knew exactly where i was up to.
Nonetheless there are still trials and tribulations to be had.
To negotiate these I am now colour coding the draft as i recognize that i have a tendency to meander. Using a highlighting feature, not only is my abstract colour coded, but so too are the sections of the article. In addition, I am also needing more serious constraints to my meandering tendency so I have place d a header on the document so that I stay oriented toward the section that i am currently addressing.

Todays goal: get out of the focus and anchor section and get into the results.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

In just 7 days; the writing plan span

The great thing about Thomson and Kamler's (2013) book on writing peer review articles identified that waiting for blocks of time may well position article completion in never never land. Instead they advocate the abstract as a tiny text through which planning of the whole article might occur. In subdividing sections, blocks of work as academic labour might then be delegated.
So far the plan is working. My next identifiable section relates to Reporting of major findings/description of thematisized findings moving to analysis (2000 words).
Given that the Gods seem to be laughing at me for making plans, I am anticipating this next section may well last into next week. Just as well i have another writing retreat planned- i just need a more settled life in which to apply myself- alternately the plan will span up to a week.

Having sorted the Intro, the Focus, and provided a semblance of an Anchor suggesting how the paper would progress, the next task is to Report on major findings, to provide thematisized descriptions and move to analysis.
In a nutshell to expand the tiny text that stated:

While this question (goodness and badness) not being explicitly addressed, a content analysis of some 6000 text messages is provided where skills commonly associated with counselling are mapped against the artefacts of counselling made visible by texting.
Note to self- tell them in a succinct way about ethics being approved also
Am anticipating a section of 2000 words.

in just 7 days: my journal article committment

Day 2 of writing the 7 day article has had to extend into a few more days.

Life is what happens while we are making plans... dont ask, but know life is always full and stuff always happens.

Meantime, seems there is no paint by numbers approach to article writing. I actually need to decide how much weighting to give sections, and in comparing my intro to the ones in Thomson and Kamler's (2013) book on writing for peer reviewed journals i will need to get more specific. I have a tendency to morph form bare bones to the history of everything. Time as Stephen King says it in his book On Writing:
“kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings”
Time to bite back those words, take a deep breath, and start slashing.
Seems i had a tendency to just ramble on.
My learning edge is #1 not to ramble and # to learn signposting (ie telling the reader at this point what the gap is, the niche for this research, and how it will forwith be filled, persuading the reader to read on.)

Sunday, September 01, 2013

In just seven days, my journal article writing plan post PhD

Day 2 proposed plan:
The tiny text (Thomson and Kamler, 2013) of th abstract becomes the road map for an article total 5000 words

Thomson and Kamler stress the importance of not leaping in to write first but to plan instead so as to address all sections.

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.