Writing and submitting a conference paper BEFORE the event

After working throughout what felt like the longest weekend ever, I finally managed to submit my finalised draft on Monday afternoon for “Constructing Narratives for Continuity and Change” at Canterbury Christchurch University (12 May).  As a narrative based researcher I was quite interested in attending this particular conference considering it’s located at one of the few UK centres on interdisciplinary narrative research.  This conference would also be the first event that I’ve been asked, as a presenter, to submit the full paper to be circulated to the attendees before the day.  It was a daunting prospect that I considered carefully – Did I have the time to write a (good) draft?  How would it fit into my research?  What benefits would I get out of doing this?

I decided to go for it because I knew that it was the challenge I needed to get my PhD off the ground.  For several weeks now I’ve been transcribing and struggling to do some analysis.  I felt I was going around in circles not quite sure how to focus my efforts.  Writing this paper gave me the focus I needed in order to write the paper and situate the analysis used in that draft in the wider scope of my research.  The actual process of writing helped to clarify my ideas in a way that I hadn’t really experienced before.

It’s an interesting process when you write things up for conferences because I found, at least for this event, the ideas seemed to connect and I was discovering that I did know something about my research area (thankfully)!  And with the every helpful critical eye of @AchilleasK I was able to polish it off into a form I was ready to go public with.

The draft, in the end, was one that I feel comfortable with in that could balance the focus of the paper with the focus of the presentation.  Considering that the audience isn’t TESOL orientated, the paper provided a detailed overview of the native speaker / non-native speaker linguistic and racial context.  From this, I went more “data heavy” with the examples I used since I wanted to allow the reader time to read and analyse the extracts I used so that when it came to my presentation, I could go into more detail on the analysis and the discussion afterwards.  So fingers crossed, I’ll be able to pull this one off!

(If interested, please view the abstract HERE)

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