Writing Tasks OR Its harder to write short chapters.

After a couple of weeks drowning in deadlines and assessments, I have finally had a chance to draw breath and catch up with myself. I love my life but sometimes it seems as if everything happens at once, and this week I have been organising OSCE examinations (and assessing them) and then found out last minute that I also had to attend a meeting to have a new Doula course approved. I successfully submitted two chapters the week before last, to two different edited collections, and I have one more chapter to submit. But the problem is, I’m stuck. The chapter is only two pages long – it’s supposed to give the essence of the topic in two pages only. Very difficult. One page is text, the other is a poster. There is a lot to say, and no space to say it in!

I started out well, but soon found myself exceeding the word count significantly. Not a problem, you might think, for a disciplined and focused academic writer – but for someone like me, with all the depth and wonder of prose writing at my fingertips, chopping my lovely work down into bitesized chunks is a painful process. After an hour or so of painful self mutilation, I fitted the text onto the page, but was left totally at a loss as to what to put on the poster! So I ‘parked’ it for a while to let it simmer away and hopefully good ideas would come bubbling up to the surface.

Now it’s two days to deadline, and I am teaching all day on deadline day. And I do have a life, so can’t spend all weekend stressing over one simple page. But I’m still at a loss. I have found that these book chapters are more difficult to write anyway, because once out there, they are carved in stone and that means your reputation gets carved in stone as well! This chapter is easy, really, the topic should be VERY VERY easy for me. And still the blank page . . . .

The only solution is to go and clean out some cupboards, and hope that the inspiration fairy manifests at some point. It’s ridiculous really, but 100,000 words for a PhD seems easy compared to this.

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About alyseinion

Novelist and Writer, midwife, Associate Professor, mother, vegan, pagan.... the list goes on.
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