9. The hardest and easiest part

So the plan so far …

is to do something which is actually an extreme version of doing nothing.

Be easy. At first you don’t even think about the essay. Just let your mind stop. Then let it drift.

I know, it sounds a bit Use-the-Force-Luke. Obi-wan Kenobi on Flickr But give it a try.

It also sounds as if this will take a long time. It won’t. Besides, it’s much nicer doodling or walking than starting at a screen clenching your fists and tearing your hanky into shreds. But here’s the really good bit.

It’s also quicker.

The staring and clenching and shredding will probably get you nowhere, and this will at least get you somewhere. 

It works for me, that’s all I’m saying.

matt baume shrug on flickr

And it hasn’t been too bad so far, has it?

Are you kidding???

So far this has been one enormous holidayYou are just sitting there … in front of a fire … or walking along, or jogging, if that’s your thing, or knitting  (no, OK, that’s only me). You’re doodling black spots onto a bear’s arse. You’re drawing a zillion stars on a starry sky.



So now … now that your brain is all smooth and empty and your thoughts are flowing like a calm river…



Now you remember that somewhere you’ve got all your essay stuff up on this huge (or actually rather small) clue board.

See what you can remember and allow yourself to think whatever you like about it. Don’t look at it. Just doodle or walk or stare, remember what you can, and then let your mind wander around over it all.

AND NOW at this point …

there’s only one thing to do.

You have to remind yourself of the overall essay topic and you have to ask yourself one really important question. This is maybe the hardest and also the easiest question in the whole thing. It is:

what do i think


It should more or less come to you now. And we want the answer in one sentence.

What we are hoping for is to get one overall sentence that describes what the essay is going to say.

Eee Geee …

“Bolt is more like a real dog than Grommit.”

Of course, it’s possible that as soon as you gave your first answer, you immediately saw that things are more complicated than that. You  might have had other thoughts, like:

“Bolt is more like a real dog than Grommit because he’s furry and he isn’t always calm and he …”

OR: “They are both like real dogs because they’re intelligent and loving and totally faithful.”

OR: “Bolt is more like a real dog but Grommit is a better movie dog because he’s so cool and his plans are clever.”

I mean, maybe it’s just flowing out now. That is not only OK, it’s brilliant. The thing to do about these doubts and other thoughts is not to brush them aside as annoying, but to recognise them, and see how important they are.


Then you will want to catch them.

Lucky you have that notebook.

Or maybe none of that has happened. Maybe you’ve just had one thought. That is fine.

The only thing you really need at this point is your overall answer to the overall question in the essay.

And if you are worried about putting  your answer into words, don’t. Because that is  dead easy. You just steal them.



question mark







You can  steal the words from the question. 

“The representation of Bolt is nearer to the nature of real dogs than the representation of Grommit.”

iced vo vo

Hooray. That’s one Iced Vo Vo for you

.That wasn’t so bad, was it?

Or am I being a pain saying that? Talking down to you? Claiming something should be easy when it wasn’t? I didn’t mean it that way. I really hope that bit was pretty straightforward. But maybe it wasn’t.  Lucky they invented this IN-TER-NET, because now you can comment! 

Anyway, whether it was quick and easy or horrible, hopefully it’s happened, one way or another, and you have decided what your answer to the big question will be.

And we can get on to the next bit.

Next page.

Thanks to these people for the images

“Obi-Wan Kenobi/Alec Guiness” by Mediodescocido on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/mediodescocido/9305710897 Creative Commons licence: Attributions 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

“Shrug” by Matt Baume on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattymatt/3017263513/ Creative Commons licence: Attributions Share-Alike 2.0 Generic (CC BY – SA 2.0)

“Bright sunny day on the river” by John Haynes [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

“Penguin” https://pixabay.com/en/tux-penguin-animal-cute-linux-158547/

“Catching butterflies” By Ida Waugh (d. 1919) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Catching_Butterflies.jpg%5BPublic domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Bemused” by Bart Everson on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/editor/6894496951 under Creative Commons licence Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by SA 2.0)

“Iced Vo Vos” by Bilby – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iced_Vo_Vos.jpg#/media/File:Iced_Vo_Vos.jpg


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