Saturday, 11 June 2011

just getting on with it / writing at the edge of my understanding

I've decided that deadlines are good for the research / writing process. I've given myself three recently.

a) getting in my ethics proposal so I can start with my narrative research; 
b) writing a journal article and;
c) preparing a presentation for the school research conference at my university.

All three have been really helpful in drawing together ideas and have marshaled my time (rare as it is, punctuated with doing academic leadership of programmes - i.e. glorified admin and all the other things). In fact, I've recognised its the same sort of focus that I used to have when I painted canvases - a weird obsession and energy.

I noticed one thing, though - when I write about something I am interested in I find myself 'writing on the edge of my understanding'. What I mean is that the act of articulating knowledge means I have to be more specific, explicit and justified which is a good thing. Seeing arguments on the page helps expose underdeveloped arguments and highlight interesting ones. I have to try to avoid over editing and 'just get it down' and to not listen to the inner critic. 

I've realised that I'm writing in quite a personal style, which is perhaps to be expected as the material is narrative and about experience. I am learning in new ways to balance the personal and the 'authoritative' - whatever that is. It's reminded me how much hard work writing is.

The more I write, the more I realise I am arguing for mixing ideas up and 'borrowing' across theoretical perspectives. Part of me realises this can lead to real tensions, but - like painting - it feels like something that I do and important to me. Getting it all 'right' is not so important, it's about generating insight and making it personal. I see connections between things. Of course, translating those into something that reads well is another thing. I am determined to do that and prioritise those really important things - like family. Watch this space.