Friday, March 20, 2009

Getting unstuck - Strategy #1

You are trying to start a paper and you just can't generate that first paragraph. Or you are trying to synthesize theories -- you know there are connections but you just can't piece them together. Getting mentally stuck while working -- we've all been there.
I believe this is one of the biggest challenges in graduate work so I will return to this topic frequently in this blog.
Today's strategy -- step away from the computer and change media. Move your thinking away from the confines of black and white text and the printed page. Instead get out a big piece of paper and colored pens, pencils, or even crayons! Next, try to visually represent the topic you are addressing. You may do this with a diagram that portrays relationships among ideas -- which ideas sit in close proximity to each other, which overlap, etc. Or, if you are so inclined, you may even make a quick sketch. Either way, you will engage your brain differently than when you are simply sitting at the keyboard and this is likely to shift your thinking.
Good luck and let me know how it goes.
Until next time,

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