Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Joys of Academic Writing

Two posts in a week? The world just tilted.

I have not been looking forward to this paper. I've made no pretense about it. I knew it was coming from the first week of October (and in some ways, before that) and I haven't wanted to write it since day one. Researching it for the last month was a lesson in self determination (or preservation), but I managed it.

The problem is that this paper has nothing to do with museums. It's 10,000 words about educational systems and the problems ICTs have caused in the traditional system. It's not interesting. I'm quite certain it is for some people, but educational theories, complaints of ICT destroying modern schools, and fifty other similarly veined arguments, have never held much interest for me. But I know I have to write this paper as the basis of everything that comes. This paper has to prove, basically, that learning outside of school is just as important, if not more important that learning within. And that using ICTs increases that learning potential. It has to prove this, because that is the basis of my bid for museums in my thesis.

But it's not going well. I'm at 3000 words right now, and it's neither flowing, writing or making sense. It's bogged down in five different learning theories which all sort of overlap each other, complicated by three that are for ICT in different uses, complicated by the fact that kids have a sixth opinion. It deals with too much and yet doesn't really come to any conclusions yet (it will). I'm bored writing it. When I'm bored writing something I find it almost impossible to write. I'll do 200 words in an hour. When I am interested and enjoying what I'm writing, I can do 2000 words in an hour (academic work; non-academic is about 4000 in an hour).

Short of having someone read it over right now, I'm not sure what else to do. And I hate letting people read unfinished work. I may have to just slog through the next 1000 words really slowly to get over this learning theory hump and onto the factual part of this paper. Hopefully that will be easier to write and flesh out. This part is like pulling teeth. And the headache isn't helping. I slept horribly last night, and lost two hours the night before. Tomorrow is presentation day and I really need to be awake and well.

Oh, the joys of being a PhD student. At least I am currently listening to the lunch seminar I missed (an account of writing) and hoping that perhaps that inspires me.

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