How to… write a commentary (if you’re me)

1. Metaphorically vomit words all over the computer screen, in the vague hope that some of them will make sense

2. Back away from the computer, leaving the vomit-words to fester/mature, usually for at least a few days

3. Re-open the Word document

4. Cry

5. Attempt to form the words into semi-coherent paragraphs. If feeling particularly enthusiastic, arrange said paragraphs into some sort of workable order

6. Once again back away from the computer for a few days (deadline allowing)

7. Go back and read through still-not-quite-coherent paragraphs and identify those bits that need quotes from the BRB*

8. Flick through the pages of the BRB in the vain hope that it will magically fall open on the page you need

9. Admit defeat and, scowling, consult the index

10. Pepper the commentary with impressive-sounding quotes from the course materials to make you sound all, y’know, *academic*

11. If have time before being consumed by sleep (it is invariably about 10.47pm at this point), go through the whole commentary and highlight in yellow those parts of it that you definitely want to keep

12. Days/hours later, go through the document and, like some heartless meanie from the Old Testament, delete all those unfortunate words that aren’t highlighted in yellow

13. Form the yellow sections into coherent sentences within coherent paragraphs, all the while resisting the urge the ‘check’ facebook, your emails or the Debenhams online sale

14. Grit teeth as the realisation that you are 100 words over the word limit (yes, even including the 5% allowance) hits home

15. Spend a ridiculous amount of time sacrificing individual words, only to discover that you’ve only shaved a mere 20 off your title

16. Swear

17. Eventually decide to go back into biblical mode and sacrifice the weakest paragraph in its entirety

18. Read through to check that the commentary still makes sense with half its bloody words missing

19. Realise how late it is and decide that ok is good enough

20. Get rid of the yellow highlighting

21. Breathe a sigh of relief

I have only got as far as stage 11. Thank goodness there is still a week left until the EMA deadline!

*Big Red Book – if you don’t know anything about the Open University’s level 2 creative writing course, this will mean nothing to you so please feel free to conjure up your own image of a Big Red Book and make it as exciting and/or weird as you like.

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