Looking at my blog posts, they are becoming less frequent but the content seems to often have more substance to it than a year ago. As part of preparing for the writing workshop I will be attending over the next couple of days, I have found I am reflecting a bit on what I am currently writing and how I am writing it. I am actually writing a lot less in general now than I was a year ago – and yet I am playing around with more ideas.
So, if I am not lacking in motivation or ideas, why is less finding its way on to paper?
I think there are a number of things going on.
Firstly, in a sense I am reconfiguring myself again. I had just about managed to persuade myself I was a techie and had begun to take a serious look at virtual worlds, when I found that I was being drawn in other directions. Although I am very happy and comfortable with where I have found myself, it also is a challenging place to be – and is actually a more difficult place intellectually than where I was. Rather than being a social scientist masquerading as a techie, I am now straddling the two worlds but with an increasing leaning towards the social scientist. Although my roots might be in the social sciences, that doesn’t mean that my past experiences were comfortable. I am a different person now than the undergraduate who never opened her mouth in a seminar because she hadn’t mastered the language others seemed adept with, and from the 30 something year old who found the same veil of silence as a masters student, but that doesn’t mean that the sense of inadequacy isn’t still there.
Secondly, I don’t want to pin my ideas down too much at the moment. I have got a good grasp of the landscape my research is set against and I have been reading relevant articles and books. There is perhaps an anxiety that if I start writing, I may be stuck with what I have written (even though I know that isn’t the case) and that may influence the outcomes of my research rather than allowing ideas and themes to emerge from my data gathering and analysis.
Thirdly, and this perhaps relates to my observations about my blog posts. I am finding that I am less satisfied with soundbites and I am wanting to explore ideas in more depth. When I start trying to write, I lose track of where I am going. Instead of doing a mind dump, which I have been able to get away with in the past, I need to find some way of developing a road map of what I want to write about before starting writing so that I can tackle manageable chunks rather than somehow trying to tackle a whole. This means trying different approaches.
On the positive side, although there are very few pieces of writing emerging, I have been doing a lot more concept mapping and it may well be that I can develop that a stage further into mapping out the ideas around some of the themes I want to address. It may be that if I given myself enough hooks, I might find I need to start creating the textual threads to link the hooks together.
It will be interesting to see what comes out of the next couple of days – will it give me the confidence boost I need, or will I end up a jibbering wreck, more convinced than ever that I’m a phoney!