When we started setting up an office/work space at home I bought a whiteboard. I had ideas that I would plan chapters on it, keep grocery lists on it, R could use it as a space to draw….It sat, getting dusty, on the floor for months. Then we hung it on the wall, nice and low so R could reach, and she did one doodle on it. I wrote one grocery list on it. Yesterday I cleaned the office up and finally got rid of the massive giant boxes of paper garbage in the middle of the room which made it much more pleasant to be in there. Today, I brought Z in to play on the floor while I attempted some ‘thinking-through’ work (it has been a bad week, thesis-wise, and I am keen to make some progress before the weekend). I have been lazy about doing this kind of work. For some reason I prefer to stare at my laptop for hours writing and re-writing the same paragraph rather than think it through away from the computer. This has not been working for me. Anyway, I looked at the blank whiteboard (with R’s original doodle in the corner) and picked up the markers. I wrote the concept I was trying to think through (discourse and power) and then my research question and asked how, first discourse, and then power, contributed to answering the question/were important for answering the question. I then asked, well, how do these connections inform my approach to the research and my choice of methods? It worked so well, and was so much less painful than agonizing over my draft document. I’m going to keep trying this and will post updates on whether it is a truly successful strategy for me or just a once-off!
In the meantime, here are some other pieces on working w/a whiteboard: