It hasn’t been a particularly good week for research and writing, I must say. The persistent, rainy weather hasn’t helped, and neither has the extra stress caused by the impending house move, but I really lost my way this week. After the writing group, I tried to implement some of the more useful changes they suggested. The biggest problem I’ve had has been with the structure, as I’ve been attempting to deal with the ballads thematically rather than chronologically. But the themes are rather vague, and I knew that as my chapter had been cobbled together from previous bits of work and the results of my post-Easter splurge, it had got a bit muddled. I wrote some aims for the chapter into the introduction, and then realised that I hadn’t specifically addressed them. I wrote a conclusion, too, but I’ve spent a lot of time this week staring at my sources and the computer screen wondering what to do.

Then I let another friend read my work, who made some really helpful points about the structure. As I said, much of the research had got muddled up over time, and it didn’t flow as well as it should have. My friend suggested that I start with the evidence dating each ballad before turning to the analysis, as this would help to give each ballad a similar treatment. Then I can prioritise what else I wanted to work on before my panel during the summer.

Friends are so useful in helping to give you a kick start when you’re going through a rough patch. I am a very lucky woman.