The Monday session with Dr Dan Soule was the perfect way to start the week. Dr Soule made really helpful suggestions for the writing process and had the right approach to motivation (“Shut up and write!”, which only sounds harsh when taken out of context!).
Inspired by the workshop on the previous day, and partly forced by the schedule, Tuesday was a great day to actually sit down and take the time to plan my article, set up an outline of my themes and arguments and think about how many words I wanted to dedicate to each of them. I felt that this was a very motivating exercise. Usually, I am afraid to spend too much time on this stage of the writing process and would rather just get started before my motivation left me. But having developed a clearer idea of what the article will look like and having organised references and related articles in a single accessible place helped me a lot to take away the temptation to procrastinate. Also, it certainly got rid of the tendency to 'avoid starting'.
Unfortunately, Tuesday was also where I realised how much background reading was still missing. Since Wednesday, therefore, I spent most of my time going through secondary literature and creating the in-depth knowledge needed for the article I planned. I know that it won't be finished this week, but I feel that the structured approach made me ask better questions of my topic, which in turn will not only benefit my writing habits but also my research in the next months.
At the end of yesterday's writing/research session I was thinking about how feasible it would be to form a writing group, to meet up for around three days a week, every week, throughout the entire year. It is incredible how much difference it makes to sit together with a couple of other productive-minded people to get a thing done. Everyone has been very supportive, and the occasional exchange of ideas, fears and problems makes my own writing struggles look less overwhelming. Last but not least, it was the daily schedule which helped immensely to motivate my work as it provided my mind with a framework for orientation, rather than just being overwhelmed by the mere abstractness of the task ahead.
Maybe I will organise an EdWeWriYe (Edinburgh Weekly Writing Year), but for now I want to make the most of the three remaining days and enjoy the experience.