Monday, 26 February 2007

PDP Heaven or Hell?!

I have a meeting coming up with my PhD supervisor, so have spent the morning working on my PDP (Personal Development Portfolio). The PDP is designed to make you think about your progress, how knowledge and skills are developing and so on and so forth... for 27 pages! I realised with horror that I hadn't updated mine since March 2006.

For many a PDP is just more administrational clap-trap, more hoops to negotiate, but surprisingly I've found some of it quite useful. Having to update it has meant I've had to dig out all my old paperwork, and think about just how exactly, I have (if I have) developed in the following areas:

1. Personal and Generic Skills Audit {Aw... do I really have to fill this in?!}
2. Research Environment {Yup, I'm researching all right}
3. Research Management {I'm dead organised, me!}
4. Personal Effectiveness {It starts with Demonstrate a willingness and ability to learn and acquire knowledge One would hope so at PhD level!}
5. Communication Skills {I'd be a bit snookered as a teacher without these, eh}
6. Networking and Team Work {I wonder if our novel race counts?!}
7. Career Management {I think I'd like to look after horses one day, in France...}
8. Other Skills as identified by you or your supervisor {like there's anything left to add after 25 pages of questions!}

The useful part was the bit at the beginning that asks what you've been doing since you last filled it in, and I was surprised to find I've done rather a lot that I'd forgotten about. Yay!

As for the novel writing itself, I thought I hadn't done any work, and yet it's taken me 4 hours to sort through all the handwritten materials I've been gathering and consigning to a big box under my desk. I found tons of my original ideas and thoughts, not to mention reams of snippets of fiction, of characterisation, of key events, and research I've already done.

So I'm feeling rather smug (bearing in mind that life can, and often does, go tits-up at any given time). Last week I wrote 10,000 words, swam 20 lengths (that's a lot for me!), had a marvellous riding lesson, and managed to have everyone fed/clothes washed/house sorted/shopping done without too much screaming and shouting!

This more than makes up for the fact that the first 10,000 words of my novel are probably not going to be used now, at least not in their current form. And that my word count progress is probably going to be slowed to taking a new approach to the project as a whole. Argh!

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