Writer's block

I went to a seminar yesterday on overcoming writer's block when writing a thesis. It was quite useful - the seminar leader pointed out that writer's block is more about habit than ability - she said, "writer's block is the authorial equivalent of letting muscles go to waste, but 'exercise' can compensate for inspiration (or lack thereof)." The bit I really liked, though, was at the beginning where she put up a slide that said:

Your thesis should be...
  • an opportunity to become passionately excited about your topic
  • an opportunity to explore your topic in more depth than previously possible
  • an opportunity to engage in independent scholarship
  • an opportunity to become a grown-up - a bona fide academic!

We all nodded dubiously (clearly thinking "does everyone else in the room really feel excited about this?") until she put up the next slide:

...but all too often it is
  • a super clean bedroom
  • accumulation of several dress sizes
  • adoption of various nasty habits
  • perpetuation of facial blemishes
  • an extended masterclass in whinging and procrastination

At that, we all nodded much more vigorously! It was actually good to know that everyone else there is feeling the same stresses and fears, and employing the same procrastination techniques for the same reasons. Anyway she gave us some excellent strategies to use... which will no doubt still be painful for a while since none of us has been doing the 'exercise', so to speak, but I reckon it will be good once I break through the pain barrier.


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