National Stationery Week 22-28th April

natstatweekLET’S GET PEOPLE WRITING!!!

There seems to be a National Day/Week for almost any cause – but I can hear the trees quivering at the thought of this one! Well starting today it is National Stationery Week!

I am a big fan of anything stationery related – BIG FAN! Testament to this is the book shelf that is stuffed (two rows) with EMPTY notebooks – yes that’s right, these are notebooks I have bought because I liked them, and I still have’t used them.NB

I am currently on the last pages of my huge fat journal that I purchased from Kate’s Paperie in NYC in 2006 – which contains roughly the last 3 and a half years of my life – it took me the best part of 3 years to decide to actually write in it, because for me, notebooks are as much about the aesthetic as about the use! Before that it sat on the shelf looking very, very pretty.

I am also a bit of a fan of the fountain pen – though I do admit to using cartridges not bladders, because I write too much and as a result they are in need of constant filling. The cartridges last longer.

I am due to start a new journal in the next week and I have decided that my 2006 purchase of an antique leather journal (currently nestling in tissue paper in a box underneath my desk) will be the next journal … I’ve become a little less precious about my collection lately and have decided that they are far more interesting if they are actually used for the purpose which they were designed.

In other exciting new (well for me it’s exciting) I will be doing a traditional book-binding course (starting in June!) and I cannot wait … I want to be able to make my own books. I have enjoyed making several starbooks lately for people’s birthday’s etc and they are simple and fun. As someone who spends a lot of time working with words, crafting can be the only way to achieve the empty head feeling it’s either that or alcoholism …

In Other News

I am in the very last stages of writing up my thesis – recent feedback has been a real boost as my supervisor is clearly very pleased with my recent work … so I just have to extend that excellence to the rest of the thesis! Blogging takes a back seat just now too – so entries are sporadic, but I couldn’t let NSW pass by without a  special mention!

Drafts

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

Ok … so what constitutes an introduction? How do I summarise, without necessarily generalising, the objectives of my 80,000 plus thesis; remembering not to go into too much detail, whilst not neglecting important factors. It seems a tall order to me …

I was working on the premise that as the thesis unfolded so would my argument? No?

Apparently not – I need to be far more methodical in my approach so I turned to some tipsters for their advice ..

What is an introduction?

  1. A statement of the goal of the paper: why the study was undertaken, or why the paper was written. Do not repeat the abstract.
  2. Sufficient background information to allow the reader to understand the context and significance of the question you are trying to address.
  3. Proper acknowledgement of the previous work on which you are building. Sufficient references such that a reader could, by going to the library, achieve a sophisticated understanding of the context and significance of the question.
  4. The introduction should be focused on the thesis question(s).  All cited work should be directly relevent to the goals of the thesis.  This is not a place to summarize everything you have ever read on a subject.
  5. Explain the scope of your work, what will and will not be included.
  6. A verbal “road map” or verbal “table of contents” guiding the reader to what lies ahead.
  7. Is it obvious where introductory material (“old stuff”) ends and your contribution (“new stuff”) begins? (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/~martins/sen_sem/thesis_org.html#Introduction)

This raises a few questions then – the Abstract – do not repeat it? So what should I say in the abstract?

  • A good abstract explains in one line why the paper is important. The final sentences explain the major implications of your work. A good abstract is concise, readable, and quantitative. 
  • Length should be ~ 1-2 paragraphs, approx. 400 words.
  • Absrtracts generally do not have citations.
  • Information in title should not be repeated.
  • Be explicit.
  • Use numbers where appropriate. (N/A- Humanities rarely want numbers!)
  • Answers to these questions should be found in the abstract:
    1. What did you do?
    2. Why did you do it? What question were you trying to answer?
    3. How did you do it? State methods.
    4. What did you learn? State major results.
    5. Why does it matter? Point out at least one significant implication.
  • It all sounds so very simple doesn’t it …

So – I have the body of my research done, the majority of it drafted out into chapters, a little muddled in parts and crying out for rewrites, two small chapters to be written (which is normal) and my supervisor wants an introduction, to set out the thesis to help me restructure (makes sense right?)  …

Sooooo – it should be easy! It should! Oh yes it bloody well should!

So why am I sitting here scratching my head, scrabbling for words to describe what I can so “eloquently” (her words not mine) discuss when I am in a session with her?

Oh – the things that beleaguer us are often so minuscule, so inscrutable, so quixotic, what chance do we , mere mortals, stand of ever pinning them down …

Well if they can do it so can I!

Image

From HDR

Your first chapter is extremely important because it sets the scene and the tone for the thesis. It is your first real opportunity to highlight the importance and value of your work and to contextualise it, all in a well-written, clear and interesting manner. This is the first impression that the reader or your examiner will get. It will give an indication of the writing style, the depth of research and content, structure, language and complexity. Examiners indicate that they pay considerable attention to the first chapter, which creates a strong initial indication as to the standard of the thesis.

This first chapter must introduce the thesis with an emphasis on its key components, providing a clear statement of the topic or problem under investigation. It generally includes:

  • Context information
  • Theoretical framework
  • Statement of the problem or ‘gap’ in the research
  • Aims of the project
  • Brief description of your methodology/ research
  • Outline of chapters – Thesis plan

The purpose of the Introduction is to provide a rationale for your research project. It establishes the need for your research within the current knowledge of the discipline, in a clearly constructed logical and explicit argument, clarifying how this work will contribute to knowledge in the field. In addition, the Introduction often discusses why the particular approach taken in conducting the research has been chosen.

To establish the need for your research, you must indicate in precise terms the problem which has not yet been adequately investigated. This is usually done by showing:

  • the limitations of previous research
  • the gaps in the previous research
  • the unresolved conflicts in the field that still require investigation
  • new developments that are required by the current state of knowledge in your field.

You will probably treat these points in more detail elsewhere in the thesis – if you review the literature in a free-standing chapter or in sections of separate chapters, for example – but you still need to present them in summary form in the introductory chapter.

The Introduction generally moves from general information providing background about the research field to specific information about the research project itself, culminating in an outline of the chapters . This finale to the introductory chapter provides a plan of the structure of your project, describing chapter by chapter, the major components of the research and showing how the various threads are woven together. Try to make it interesting and informative as you outline the way the content is organised in each chapter.

WORLD BOOK NIGHT

So I am perhaps a little slow on uploading a post about the fabulous World Book Night event (it was yesterday ) but I did enjoy feeling very philanthropic as I handed out the books.

I chose to gift mine to pub goers. I opted for Maggie O’Farrell’s The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, because it was one I had read and enjoyed and had already given away; a clear sign I wanted to get other people to read it.
I could have gone highbrow and taken on Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca but what a foosty old book that is to try and foist onto unsuspecting folks.The aim of the evening is to get non book readers to read .. now that is harder than you think and perhaps a little patronising. The website even gives you handy hints for targeting ‘non-book readers’ but I found the tone implied a level of condescension that I didn’t quite hold with – so I went for people who looked friendly!

This year the books all have numbers and the idea is to trace how far a book will travel as it is passed from hand to hand to hand … I imagine that folks will stop registering them after a while but here’s hoping one of the books I gave away will reach the other side of the world! 🙂

It was also the anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and death! So in honour of the bard each novel had a sonnet attached to it – Esme’s sonnet was no 63!

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

Sonnet 63

Against my love shall be as I am now,
With Time’s injurious hand crushed and o’erworn;
When hours have drained his blood and filled his brow
With lines and wrinkles; when his youthful morn
Hath travelled on to age’s steepy night;
And all those beauties whereof now he’s king
Are vanishing, or vanished out of sight,
Stealing away the treasure of his spring;
For such a time do I now fortify
Against confounding age’s cruel knife,
That he shall never cut from memory
My sweet love’s beauty, though my lover’s life:
His beauty shall in these black lines be seen,
And they shall live, and he in them still green.

Progress on the revisions has been slow – hence the lack of blog posts – but I am still daily on Blipfoto so if you fancy dropping by and saying ‘hello’ feel free.

Absentminded Blogger

Is it just me or am I the only blogger who keeps forgetting they have a blog?

I start with such good intentions then real life gets in the way and it all goes to pot!

I am clearly the most inattentive and absentminded blogger on WordPress! But I do have an excuse – I have a huge 25k word chapter due – NEXT FRIDAY!!! And I am just scraping past the 16k mark … sloooooooooow progress! So this is an appeal for anyone out there with a spare 9000 words or so – please throw them my way. If they are somehow connected to inimitable Rebecca West or to modernist periodicals so much the better but at this point I am just not fussy!

 

In other news i really should not be sharing this or even playing with it myself – great procrastination can be found playing with Pinterest! Can I tempt you?

Just call me – your bad influence – I have broad shoulders I can take it!!!

I am going back into the word wilderness – I may be sometime … blogging will resume at some point after I have recovered from the imminent collapse of handing in a huge chunk of work! Arriverdecinever goodbye!

New Title – Same Problem!

Ok so yesterday I was having a wee browse on the internet (as you do) in the interests of my research (why else would I surf the net?) when I came across a blipper who claims to have spent the day in ‘active procrastination’.

That’s a new one on me, I thought! So I enquired – how is that different to normal procrastination then? Her reply was that active procrastination is the art of avoiding one job by doing another. The example she gave was that she wrote her first book when she should have been writing her PhD … Little did I know it but I have been actively procrastinating for YEARS! And somehow now I don’t feel so bad about it!

However there is no getting away from the fact it is all a beautifully repackaged version of displacement activity!

So setting manageable goals is the key –  so I am following the 3 in 30 challenge of setting 3 things I want to do each day for 30 days. As a twist to this I will make it a bit of a challenge. The first one will be the thing I like doing least and need to do most. The second will be the thing I don’t mind doing but find it easy to put off and the third one will be a pleasant thing I enjoy doing and would like to do first.

So: Today I want to:

1) read at least one section on the thesis on my desk

2) have at least passed the 13,000 mark on my writing … I have 12,321 so doable!

3) Go out and take a picture for my daily blip that I am proud of. (I spend far too much time doing this and I enjoy it far too much!) Also my blip has now taken on a literary twist if anyone wants to join in just follow me on The People Twitcher

Sitting Staring into the blankness …

 

been a bought week …\I am supposed to be writing – and i have managed do do precisely bugger all all week! I am sat here typing this and giving myself a stern talking to but it doesn’t seem to be working!

 

This just about sums it up for me this week! –

And I think this is pretty representative of me ..

 

Though I am trying to be all …

have a good weekend folks!

Playing Catch Up

This is a game I am becoming an expert in. I am approximately two weeks behind on my targets. I know I can up the ante and get it done but why do I always feel as though what lies ahead of me is way out of my reach?

I did better on the 1000 words a day goal after my last post (hence the reason I didn’t blog on Friday) but I should be sitting at around 7,000 words by this point – and I have approximately 3,000! Finger needs to be pulled out – nose needs to be put to the grindstone and efforts need to doubled in order to get some hope of getting it ready.

And it’s Monday.  A day of disruptions and interruptions and kids in and out. There is no food in the house so I need to spend time doing an internet shop!

Gosh – what a gripe I am today!