Post-presentation shutdown and the art of question time

Professor Lesley Head.

Professor Lesley Head.

You’ve nailed the presentation. Structured it well. Timed it just right. No powerpoint stuff-ups. You’re pretty sure you had most of the audience with you. You draw breath and take a glass of water. Your brain relaxes.

But wait, there’s question time, and if you’re lucky, a chance for extended discussion. Just as your brain relaxes, you need it to function more than ever, and fast. Continue reading

Know yourself and pace yourself – some thoughts on the temporalities of academic writing

This is an edited version of a discussion-starter presentation used at the UWS School of Social Sciences and Psychology writing retreat in November 2013, Kangaroo Valley. Thanks to Rae Dufty-Jones for the invitation. Thanks also to the group for sharing their own experiences and processes, many of which are very different from mine.

Let me first say that in academic life no one ever gives you time to write. Even though it is a core responsibility of the scholarly endeavour, there are always endless details and demands that will crowd in and demand priority. You have to carve out that time, and you have to wrest it somehow in the midst of all those other things that would fill your days. You also have to wrest some from those who have completely legitimate demands on you – your boss, your kids, your students. So if you are making the choice of a scholarly life, you are choosing not to do some other things, and not to do everything.

Here are some thoughts on how I have done it, remembering that everyone is different. (And here are the visual aids I used in the talk.)

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