Pret a portal 

My assignment due date looms ever closer and now I am beginning to feel a little sick with nerves at the task ahead of me. This is ridiculous. It is a 1500-word case study with a critical analysis of its success in delivering certain outcomes as its focus. Fifteen hundred words is around what I write in three days on this blog, but unlike this blog, which needs just me and my stream of consciousness to fill its empty pages, this assignment needs to demonstrate that I have read widely and absorbed other people’s ideas.

The more I read, the more undisciplined my ideas become, the wilder my propositions grow and the less lightly the chances become that I am going to be able to wrap this up in a big bow and deliver it without spending 70% of my weekend at the office. I have a PC but it is about 150 years old and not good to work on. My iPad is good for jotting down ideas but not really for formulating long and complex arguments and allowing for quick cross-referencing to other texts. Maybe I am making and excuse and doing what everyone does and avoiding the writing by actually researching too much.

What did not help is getting on the university site today and seeing the communication tool full of my fellow students bemoaning about the difficulties of getting the number of words down to 1500, or feeling pretty pleased with their drafts which they have now handed out to others to proofread. Dammit.

I should have a clear week at work to break the back of this – and it is sponsored by my employer so I am allowed to work on it during quieter times – but today I was at an in-house course to learn how to populate our new website, which has been built in Drupal.

I have only had a couple of experiences with this platform and both from a low-end user position. I am the person who goes in and uses a WYSIWYG to fill the pages with text and images and information in our never-ending quest to fill the Internet with stuff. The only two things I could remember about it were that The White House website is built in Drupal and some people like to render the Drupal Logo in bacon.

Still, it was a good day. The people running the training were people after my own heart and ran the workshop at quite a clip, so the time flew by. We got plenty of time to practise creating different types of content blocks and setting them up so they would display our content – dummy stuff in today’s case – in the best possible light. I am looking foreward to finally being able to have a few pages of content that I can control so I can refer people to information rather than sending the same email out 150 times next year when we start recruiting for the program again.

It felt good to be able to sit infront of a screen, know what I had to do, know how to do it and complete it without engaging in any complex thinking. Today was about a lot of small successes, rather than endless stretch of ‘thinking about it’ that I seem to have been doing for my assignment.

I have done another couple of hours’ reading tonight, so perhaps I can try and get a couple of hundred words knocked out before I put Tuesday to bed. Who knows? When I started this blog the aim was to go from 2 to 3 to 500 words a day and I seem to manage that more often than not. It is just a matter of opening a blank document and starting. Wish me luck.

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