Beth talks about how she forms and writes her ideas when studying
Chapter details: Beth describes how her thoughts are hazy at first but eventually form when she writes them down and reflects on them afterwards
Subject: English Literature
Student status: Home, Graduate
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When I feel like I'm on to something, when I'm doing my work, so when I think that I'm starting to do something new and I'm feeling creative and enthusiastic about it and I'm thinking critically about something that I don't think has been thought about before, I tend to get this feeling. I'm reading whatever book it is, I'm at my desk and it's as if there's kind of a whirling around, as if my head is in a cloud, I guess.

As crazy as it may make me sound I sort of feel as if there's a me observing me doing my work, so there's two aspects to it; there's both me doing the thinking and there's someone thinking about my thinking alongside me. So in these kind of thoughts that are like a cloud in my mind, they're coming together and crystallising.

It's often hazy for quite a while and then it gets to the point where it does crystallise but I know when I'm thinking of something new I get this idea of haziness and detachedness, so there's two people thinking or there's a few people thinking at the same time. So I have lots of thoughts going on at one and the same time. Once I feel like I've figured out what it is I get onto my writing and then the haziness dispels as it were.

And when the haziness dispels, is there a sense of what you're left with? I don't know.

When the haziness dispels it's as if I have lots of energy and the energy needs to come out and I will get typing. Generally I don't know what I'm left with instantly. I have to read my work and then think about what I'm left with. So I have to do this extra exercise of reading over my own work and thinking critically about that again before I'm left with the end product, as it were. So there is still a haziness going on, it's just different levels of haziness and they come down into one.

Often it takes me a while to come down to the final crystallisation, so I might have to write the piece, take a week of not thinking about it and then when I come back to it I realise what it is I was thinking about, then it makes sense a lot more to me.

The process is not instant, it's definitely one of reflection, I have to keep coming back to it, keep re-working it and keep thinking about it. I guess it is a lot to do with the idea of thinking critically, so I'm not just thinking critically about what I'm reading, I have to think critically about what I've written as well.