Thursday, November 11, 2010


At the end of October I had grand intentions to spend November in a frenzy of writing productiveness. I signed up with NaNoWriMo, signed up to Andrea's NaNo group and though "this is it... here we go!" My NaNo plans were to write a 6000 word conference paper and put together a 20 minute presentation for the Australia and New Zealand History of Education Society conference I am heading to in early December.

Unfortunately October Bec, forgot that November Bec had not done much to clear her calendar for this joyous month of writing. Oops!

I often forget the importance of preparation. Often it causes the early death of a project. Getting things ready before beginning is essential. When sewing (pre-wash that fabric!) or cooking (have you actually got the ingredients?) you need to be ready. Writing is exactly the same.

I have been reading a lovely little book by Ann Curthoys and Ann McGrath called How to Write History that People want to Read. They have a full chapter devoted to writing habits - and tell us about the different writing habits they have found successful. The thing that is common to them all (and also exemplified by Andrea) is that they find space and time to write. I think I kind of shot myself in the foot before I even got started on my NaNo project, because I didn't make that time, or plan the space that I needed to write.

My progress so far?
Last week was a good writing week - but not on the NaNo project. In preparation for a meeting with my supervisor this week I needed to get a 10,000 word draft of my thesis proposal finished (essentially a big detailed blue-print of the project). Again, October Bec had grand plans that this would be done weeks ago so that I could move on to my Nano project, but there is no denying I am a last-minute maniac, and was writing until the 11th hour to get it done.

This week I have completely fallen off the band wagon. My brain was fried by the mammoth effort last week, PLUS we moved house, PLUS I have 80 essays and 20 exams to mark, PLUS I have 2 days of Research assistant work I owe, PLUS I am working at my switchboard job 3 days this week. No space + no time = no writing.

So... I think I have joined the NaNo-Lame-o group instead and have to modify the plan.

For the next three weeks I will devote one full day a week to writing the conference presentation, and drafting the paper. I will also do a weekly post to update you on my progress and some thoughts on writing. (I already have one in the works about editing, after marking some truly terrible student essays!) If it is fun pictures you are after... fear not! They will plod along as usual.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Bec! I'm also part of Andrea's nanowrimo-lame-o group (and proud of it)!

    I'm so pleased to see that you're using the month for the purposes of academic writing. I think that often people think writing a paper is an entirely different process to writing a short story - which in a way it is - but it still involves many of the same things (preparation, research, putting pen to paper, structuring the work, revision/rewriting...). Why shouldn't nano work for this kind of writing too? So Hooray for you!

    Hope it's going well. :-)


Go on then!