Monthly Archives: September 2016

Apps that help writing productivity


These days just about everyone has a FitBit or a walking app to count how many steps they take in a day.  Well, if you look here,  and here you’ll find blog posts that list a number of online apps that can help you keep on track with your writing.  They range from helping you to keep focused, counting words written to blocking distractions.  I haven’t tried any of them myself but I think I will.

Mmmm, I wonder if there are apps I can use on my phone…

coping with writing anxiety – or – learn to stroke your spider


Here’s a blog by Pat Thomson on writing and anxiety that I thought you might enjoy.


Desensitisation is a psychological term. It is used to describe a process through which a very anxious – perhaps even phobic – person gradually becomes used to the object or situation which makes them afraid. Professional support is often required for effective desensitisation.

Desensitisation usually consists of three steps – developing a fear hierarchy, relaxation training and then something called reciprocal inhibition. Let me explain these steps in a touch more detail.

The fear hierarchy – well this requires making a list. You make a list about the thing you are anxious about, going from the least terrifying version to the absolutely most awful. (In clinical practice this list-making is done with a therapist and there might be discussions about where these fears came from. ) My favorite example of a possible fear hierarchy is this –


  • Think about a spider
  • Look at a photo of a spider
  • Look at a real spider in…

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five ways to structure a literature review


Here’s a blog on writing literature reviews. I particularly liked the idea of the wheel structure.


You’ve read. And read. And read.You’ve noted. And noted. And how. You’ve written summaries and memos.You’ve made groupings and mind-maps of the reading.But you’re still a bit away from actually writing about the literatures. You’re still not sure how to wrestle all of that material into a compliant text.You know the purposes of the literature review. But that doesn’t tell you what structure will work for your particular project.

Before you put pen to paper – or hand to mouse – it might help you to now think about the ways in which literature chapters, if you decide to have one, are most often structured. You can then see if one of the usual ways will work for you.

So here’s a set of five possibilities.


  • A chronology

As the name suggests, this is an historical map of the field. In writing historically, your intention is to show how…

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