New year, new mindmap, writer’s block

Though it’s still a week until I return to work, I need to get ahead a little.  I’m writing a paper with a colleague, whilst we’ve had the abstract agreed, there’s still a lot to do before we can submit at the end of January.

One thing that’s unusual is that the conference has given no guidelines with respect to layout, or more importantly, word limit for the paper.  It’s unusal to do this, there’s usually an indicative word count.  I’m about to head over to the website again to check that I’ve not missed it anywhere.  There doesn’t seem to be a contact email address either, which is unusual.  I think some more research is needed here.

The trusty mindmap has been working overtime on this bit of research though, and I’ve been using the open source package Freemind rather than Mind42, which is my online mapper of choice.  There’s no real reason why I choose one over the other (and indeed, I’ve developed an assignment for students to evaluate these two packages), but the printing options on Freemind are a little easier, and I do like to work with a paper version of the mind map, so that I can cross off sections as they are done, or append as necessary.

It’s a relatively easy step to take the mind map, and outline the paper then, and allocate roles to the sections.  My collaborator (that sounds quite sinister doesn’t it!) is strong on the literature review and supporting information, whereas the case studies, and in this instance the preparation of guidelines for academics who wish to use blogging in their teaching clearly works to my strengths.

Unfortunately, I’ve not got much further than this, I’ve got the structure, and know what I need to say in each section and sub-section, but can’t summon up the enthusiasm just yet to put finger to keyboard and do my bit.

There’s lots of advice out there on how to overcome writer’s block, and I’ve used many of these from my creative writing course.  The easiest one is to simply start writing anything.  In fact, for my creative writing I’ve bought The Writer’s Block: Ideas to Jump-start Your Imagination, which a friend of mine has had for years.  But this is for creative writing and creative ideas, and as anyone knows, the one thing you can’t be with academic writing is creative!

Well, I’ve used this displacement activity enough, now to head over to the conference website and see if there are any specific guidelines which I’ve missed.

Well, maybe after just one more episode of Torchwood Series Two


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