Monday, 19 May 2014

EMA Word Cloud

I had originally planned for this post to be about my progress on my EMA, which is due in on Thursday this week, and then to do a word cloud for next Monday. But then I sort of unexpectedly finished it at the weekend.

I started it almost a month ago, after finishing my last TMA I gave myself the Easter weekend to knit and relax, and even when I did start work I didn’t push myself too much. I spent a good three or four days just selecting the books I was going to write about and then using these to go through all the course materials looking for anything that I might be able to use when writing my essay.

Then I sat on it for a few days. It was my birthday weekend so I didn’t feel any compulsion to actually start writing. Plus I had to put together a proposal for my tutor to approve before I could start (this is so they can verify that what you submit has actually been written by you and not anyone else). You’d think that having pages and pages of notes about themes, module materials and theories might make this a little bit easier.

It didn’t.

The problem was that the question was kind of vague. Intentionally so, because you can apply it to pretty much any book in the course. At first I thought it was the fact that I was trying to work without guidance notes telling me exactly which materials I should consult in the construction of the essay, but the more I struggled to get started with something, it suddenly came to me that what I needed was a question.

Luckily Mr Click came to the rescue and helped me to come up with a question which kind of tied together the themes of the books I’d chosen with the actual subject of the essay. From there it didn’t take me particularly long to put together a proposal.

Perhaps wrongly, I started writing the actual EMA before I’d had my proposal approved. It’s not that my tutor took a long time to get back to me. I submitted it on a Sunday and had the go ahead by the Tuesday. It’s just that I had the ideas in my head and wanted to start while the motivation was there. By the following Tuesday I was feeling a lot more lukewarm about the whole thing.

There was a minor hiccough in the form of a sudden revulsion of everything I’d written. Interestingly enough that awful piece of writing which I screwed up and threw in the bin has now taken the shape of my introduction! Once I’d actually sat down to start writing it came surprisingly easily. Too easily in fact, by the time I’d written my introduction and a section on each of my chosen books I was over 10% over my total word count (and that was without any references or a conclusion).

Last Thursday I sat down with the intention of doing some major editing. My target of removing 100 words from each section was a little bit overenthusiastic and I ended up having to do even more trimming on Friday and Saturday. By Saturday I was so desperate to get it done that I was chopping out whole paragraphs if I didn’t think they added anything to my argument. I should add that there weren’t too many of them!

I was adding references as I went so it was a pleasant surprise to see my word count, including references, drop at one point down to 2,922. I’d been so worried that I’d finish up with everything and then have to cut and trim massive chunks out again. I’m normally so good at writing within my word count that the thought of chopping just stressed me out. Once I’d removed so much that it wasn’t so much of an issue I was kind of able to relax into it again.

And now it’s submitted. And I just have to wait anxiously for my results.

I’d better pass. I’ve already booked my long weekend holiday off work for my graduation ceremony.

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