04 Nov

#acwrimo update: day four

I blogged last week about challenging myself to write 1666 words a day with my own version of NaNoWriMo, which I called DisWriMo. Since then, I’ve jumped on the AcWriMo bandwagon but my plans haven’t changed – I’m still aiming to write 1666 words a day on my thesis in November.

Except today I didn’t write any words at all. But I’m not beating myself up about it, and here’s why.

Over the first three days in November, I managed to write 4704 words. This is more than I’ve written on my thesis since my confirmation seminar in April. April 2012, that is.

I didn’t realise it had been so very long since my confirmation. And that meant I didn’t realise it had been so very long since I wrote anything related to my thesis. I think I had a mental block about thesis writing and the first three days of AcWriMo helped me to break that.

This is really important, and not just because I need to churn out words, stat. It’s important because I sense-make by writing. I know that. I’ve always known that. And yet I haven’t been accommodating that particular work style. I felt like I had to code All The Transcripts before I started writing, and I’ve been putting off writing while I did that. The trouble is, I have found coding really difficult. Not intellectually (although it’s true that it is challenging), but motivationally (I’m not even sure that’s a word). I’m okay one I’m coding, but making myself get started – in the morning, after a Pomodoro break, on a new transcript – has been bloody hard. I think this is partly because I really got into the spirit of initial coding and I was generating codes like a crazy woman. I had nearly 2000 by the time I’d done the first five transcripts. And then I spent weeks and weeks and weeks sorting them, resorting them, recoding the same pieces of data to check myself… ┬áSo I was stuck at this really detailed level of coding and I couldn’t quite figure out how to move forward, and I think that happened because I wasn’t letting myself write and so I was struggling to sense make. The writing I did over the first three days of AcWriMo has helped me to conceptualise the structure of my emerging findings.

This morning I sent 3000 words about the structure of my categories to my supervisors. It feels like I’ve actually *done something*. Finally.

So I’m just going to celebrate that and accept that what I did today was just as necessary as writing and see what happens tomorrow.

Since I still have transcripts to code (I hoped I’d be done by the end of October. Or September. Or August. But let’s not go there.), I am revising my daily goal a little bit for the next week. This week I’m going to aim for 750 words a day and one transcript coded. But for now I’ll leave my monthly target at 50,000 words and see how I go.

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