#AcWriMo and Transitioning from Research to Writing

So I haven’t blogged here in a very, very long time.  In my defense, I have been posting regularly on the Digital Archive series on Africa Is A Country, but I haven’t made much time to generate original content for my own blog since….well, 2014, I guess?  But I’ve decided to try and get back to it for a number of reasons.  Some of them include:

  1.  I like blogging.  It helps me figure things out and I like engaging with people in the comments.
  2. I’m in South Africa doing research for my dissertation.  I really should have been blogging a long time before this, but I was struggling and I didn’t.  Oh well, I can try now and see where it gets me.
  3. On the subject of research, I am digesting a LOT of information on a daily basis right now.  It won’t all make it in the dissertation but some of it might find a home here.
  4. Imposter syndrome is a nasty, ugly monster that nobody likes and producing actual ideas and material sometimes helps in shoving it further down in my brain.
  5. I’ve decided to take part in #AcWriMo as a way to kickstart my dissertation writing, and blogging is as good a way to get my daily word count goal done as anything else I can think of.

So I have a little less than six weeks left in South Africa.  It’s been a….well, let’s just say it’s been a complicated experience.  If I’m being honest, the first half of my time here (about 5.5 months) were just just a grind, emotionally, mentally, all of it.  My boyfriend and I suffered some setbacks about a month after I got here (he lost his job and our dog passed away), the project I thought I was going to do fell apart, I was lonely, I was overwhelmed, etc., etc.  It seems, after talking to friends, that I am not alone in having these kinds of feelings, but they sure didn’t feel normal when I was going through them.  But things are definitely better now.  I’ve found a new perspective for my research, done some amazing oral history interviews, seen some beautiful parts of South Africa, and made (and reconnected with) some good friends.  But I’m facing a new stage of my dissertation process: I’ve gotta start thinking about writing this monster.  I just submitted an application for a dissertation completion fellowship that required submission of a 25-page writing sample, which means: I wrote a thing!  About my project! That didn’t suck!  But now it’s time to think about the rest of this monster that I’ve created (Just watched Young Frankenstein for the first time so this GIF is necessary).

So that’s what I’ll be using #AcWriMo for.  I don’t really have a set project that I’ll be writing towards this month.  But I will be using this as an impetus to establish a daily writing habit.  And, really, to start thinking through what to do next.  And maybe collect some advice from those of you who have been through this to decide how to proceed.  And maybe to post some more awesome pictures and anecdotes of my trip.

Till next time!

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