Researcher Chutzpah: Strong Researcher-Writer Affirmation, Strong Body, Strong Sense of Direction

Greetings, fellow BLOSSOMING fledgling researchers!

As time goes on, I discover more and more what it is that helps me continue to blossom into a researcher-writer. As time goes on, I am less fledgling in status. Yeah! Below I discuss three of the things that are presently helping most.

What’s REALLY working for you? Please share in the comments, or comment about something in this post (please click the bubble above the post to do so!).




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New Mantra/Motto to Support My Favorite  Researcher-Writer Affirmation to Write Fearlessly: Exercises of saying and reflecting upon the sentiment “I have something to say about __________.”

One of my favorite guest posts to this blog shared the motto/mantra: “Write fearlessly!” I include this in my tagline at, and of the things that other phinished members have discussed with me, that motto/mantra is one of the most popular.

That said, I have stumbled upon something that truly helps me write fearlessly. It’s super simple. It is the practice of saying the statement “I have something to say about ______” with different words emphasized, and then reflecting on the emphases’ meaning.

I don’t know how or why, but the statement (“I have something to say about _____”) recently came to mind one day when I was ruminating about feeling so CHALLENGED in writing this thesis. When it first came to mind, I played around with it, reciting it several different times with emphasis upon a different word each time. I would then take a couple of seconds to meditate (reflect) on what each different recitation means, and I would draw STRENGTH from those reflections. Here’s a demo/explication:

  • I have something to say about algebra preparedness/readiness.
    • Reflection: If I’m going to have the chutzpah to declare myself as a researcher, I need the confidence to CONTRIBUTE, and I need to get over this thought of “Who am I to have anything to say?” That’s the POINT!!! It is the fact that I, I, I have found something to say that is the reason that I, I, I should write it. I must keep telling myself this: “Own the confidence to contribute and write, girl!” I, I, I can say something about this that is informed by a very unique set of experiences that give me a very special perspective and unique knowledge set. The conversation about algebra preparedness/readiness will actually benefit from my, my, my addition to the discussion. NOTE: So, when I reflect on this reflection, I notice that it makes me squirm a little bit and has caused me to ask myself, “Is that arrogant?” WHOAH! That was a HUGE eye opener for me. What a mental block, to view that posture as arrogant! I didn’t even know that I felt that way, and I am now seeking to make sure that double-minded instability stays rooted out!
  • HAVE something to say about algebra preparedness/readiness.
    • Reflection: At some point, you’ve just got to stop lit searching and start writing, or you will never have a paper. While this is 100% logical (smile), for some types (me included), it is easier said then done. It always feels like there is more out there that I need to learn about a topic before I have the AUDACITY to think I have anything to say about it. Well, this is a master’s thesis, not my final lifetime work achievement. Gotta jump in there at some point! So this is what I tell myself: “Find the best good stuff (i.e. support/literature) you can find, and then use it. Add footnotes if need be to send readers to other better stuff if an unreal and vague sense of “lack of thoroughness” is keeping you from getting done, but stay focused and on message. In fact, start out knowing the message of your thesis before writing, and re-calibrate in real-time as/if need be.” The important thing to realize is that I do indeed already HAVE something to say. An exercise that has helped me is to imagine what I would do if I could not obtain another source, PDF, book, etc. What would my paper look like under these conditions? I must admit I could get a REASONABLE paper out. At some point then, I need to say what it is that I HAVE that I can say. Yes.
  • I have SOMETHING to say about algebra preparedness/readiness!
    • Reflection: With this recitation, I say the whole phrase pointedly: “I have something to say about algebra preparedness and algebra readiness! Why, yes I do!” If I say this in a wimpy way which sounds like a question (“I have something to say about algebra preparedness and readiness???”) then I’m probably blocked somewhere writing-wise. But if I say “Why, yes I do!: I have something to say about algebra preparedness and algebra readiness,” and if I then THINK ABOUT WHY THAT IS . . . then I’m unblocked: I have something to say about because of _____ and _____ and because ____ and ____. TRY IT!
  • I have something TO SAY about algebra preparedness/readiness.
    • Next, it is very important to realize that I have something TO SAY . . . meaning to get in print, down on paper. In the academy, that is one way that we talk, learn, and grow and strengthen the discourse: by saying stuff ON PAPER or IN PRINT. I have something that I need TO WRITE. I can’t just keep thinking and reading about it or even verbally talking about it with peers and family members who love me enough to serve as sounding boards. I can’t just keep brainstorming about it. I have something TO SAY ON PAPER that is worthy of being crystallized in black and white and publicized so that others can read it, think about it, “talk” (i.e. write) about it, and perhaps use it. Oh, my. That brings me to the last and final recitation . . .
  • I have some THING(S) to say about algebra preparedness and readiness:
    • Reflection: What is there that I know, that I can say about what’s already been said, or about what’s happening, or about what my research is saying and what IT says about what has already been said? These are the THINGS that I have to say about algebra preparedness and readiness. They are worthy (gulp) to be in print. Not because I’m me, but because my experiences (including my research and MY reading) and resultant insight enable me to CONTRIBUTE to my discipline’s discourse about this. That is all. We care: We are not arrogant. We are not overconfident.We care enough TO CONTRIBUTE, which includes properly preparing to do so. Our hearts are good! Chutpah’s okay (smile).

So that’s an illustration of how I use the statement to get unblocked. You may not EVER have such blocks. Awesome! Write on! But if you do, or if you do at times, the right mentality is needed to move past thoughts or attitudes that debilitate or block. For me, doing this exercise actually helps and leads to productivity. Who knew?!?? What a PLEASANT surprise. I’ll take it!!! 😉

What works for you? Please comment to let us know!!! I’ll pas it along at 😉


Kettlebells: So Efficient a Workout that Even RESEARCHER-WRITER-STUDENT-TEACHER Folks Have Time for THIS!

Courtesy of Google Images

I woke up one day last month and realized that I was putting the thesis above my own health. I just felt too behind and thus too guilty to section off time for exercise and CONSISTENT healthy eating.

I decided not to give in to that thinking, and to turn it around: “No. Just because I’ve had a time of figuring out how to progress with the master’s thesis does NOT mean I’m a person who deserves to eat poorly or leave my body unexercised! No!”

So I returned to my favorite nutrition/eating principles–those explained in The Abs Diet (I use the version for women). And I resumed doing exercises and strength-training routines that I love (very key–it helps to love it) that work for me: jump roping to a DVD, doing my Abs Diet for Women exercise DVD, riding my exercise bike, etc.

I also began researching Zumba and attended a free class at Lifetime Fitness. (Really liked it, but simply don’t have time to drive to and from the gym, and don’t want to spend the extra gas money or harm the environment burning more gas to get there. Instead, I’m probably going to get the Xbox Kinect version so that doing Zumba can serve several roles at once: exercise, family time, fun, relaxation, dance, laughter, etc.).

Anyway . . . Soon after the Zumba class I stumbled upon kettebell exercising. Wow! I think I’m in love! If you haven’t heard of it, let the research begin! It is the most efficient, goal-oriented, interesting, fun exercise I have found in a long, long time. I don’t like to exercise when it’s not part of an activity, like bowling or volleyball. So, it is saying a LOT that I love to do kettlebell work. A lot. 😉

Below are some links to information about kettlebell exercising. I am slated to attend a kettlebell workshop on proper form so that I can soon begin intermediate and advance kettlebell moves SAFELY. I have started out with a 10 lb. kettlebell because I have very little upper arm strength. Once I attend the kettlebell form workshop, I’ll try to remember to post back my views on whether it was worth it or not. NOTE: As you peruse the information, please be aware that not all who have kettlebell DVDs know the intricacies of proper form. So, be on the lookout for that: If you find something that looks fun but does not emphasize form, simply augment with something that teaches form, or find a form workshop near you.


Lastly, I just wanted to briefly share a really, really, really good list-making app that a phinished member just shared at the phorum: Workflowy. It’s good. It’s quick. But most importantly, it’s just simple and works. I use it to outline and write. Along with Lifespace, I have GREAT vision of what I’m doing and where I’m seeking to go.

Like you, perhaps, I sometimes get sick of all of these new apps. So, I wouldn’t mention Workflowy if it wasn’t worth your time. It’s worth a gander. 😉

As always, thank you for visiting the blog.

Best wishes during this end-of-the-semester and end-of-the-school-year season. PLEASE KEEP YOUR HEAD UP AND EYES FORWARD on YOUR path. Remember: Your path does not have to look like others’ paths in order for it to be the right path for you. I know this is a season for finishing up. If this is your time for finishing, congratulations!!! Post and share your victory: It inspires. If this is not YET your time to be finished, one step after the other. It’s okay: Just keep a’swimmin’. It’s going to happen for you in a future semester, just like it’s happening for someone else now, if you just keep swimming! I’m in the water, too! 😉 Thanks for the company!