We have come to the end of yet another week in November, not just any November but this is acwrimo. In this post I want to reflect on emotions in the writing. This reminds me of my research methodology class when we discussed qualitative research and how the researcher becomes the instrument, the same could be said of writing. One of the primary reasons I haven’t completed the accountability spreadsheet is the emotional effect of my inability to complete my set goals for the day. I love the idea behind the spreadsheet, it helps visualize progress, for the competitive you can measure your progress against others’ and completing it daily can be a useful way of ending the day and planning for tomorrow in case you need to put in a little more or you are ahead of your target and can have more time to relax, schedule that overdue catch up with friends or family. It has not worked for me primarily because being very competitive and a perfectionist ( working on changing this by the way) I cannot handle the “world” seeing I haven’t met my goals which in my brain registers as I have failed. I know that is being melodramatic.
Anyway its not always that you struggle with these negative emotions that make it hard to write. So in preparation for my fieldwork which I will be starting soon yay!(celebratory dance). I decided to settle some scores that have been nagging at my conscience for a while. I promised one of the participants in my research study a copy of his interview transcript as well as the complete research report. He is the only one of the participants who expressed an interest in getting these documents. So I completed my MA in 2010 and life took a busy turn, had a baby, started a new job etc the list of excuses continues. Bottom line is I did not keep my promise and this has been nagging me. Well now that I am preparing for fieldwork, which will involve going back to some of the people who were part of my MA research I needed to make amends. Bet you are wondering if I would have done this if this was not the case, I do too but the point of me telling this story is this. The response from Mr B (research participant) when we met and he quickly browsed through the transcript and report I handed him and how it made me feel I cannot fully explain.
One thing I struggle with often as a researcher is asking people for their time, to tell us their stories and life experiences when sometimes we know this may not benefit them much. My masters research was a great benefit to me, I received a degree for it but this does not compare to what the participants will benefit from it. So seeing how much Mr B appreciated the documents I handed him and how important he felt about having his story written down made me feel just a little less conflicted about asking him or someone else to again tell me his story. Mr B is passionate about memorializing his past and so seeing a written record of his story was of great value to him which may not be the case had it been a different scenario.
So how does all this rambling link to acwrimo, well my encounter with Mr B left me with very good emotions. Words were flowing faster than I could type them, I could have pulled an all-nighter but we all know that would not be a wise move. My November is busy with fieldwork for a project I am working on as a research assistant and a twelve hour road trip to visit my parents. All that activity has made it harder for me to meet my acwrimo goals. Fieldwork can be so unpredictable which can make it difficult to fit in writing into the day. But this is part of my acwrimo goals, figuring out what works and what does not work. The verdict at the end of this week is some days are better than others, so ride the wave while it lasts and remember on a bad day tomorrow will be a better day!