Is it professional death to admit to struggling with the conclusion of a conference paper? Well, I’m not going to fall on my sword in public, but I do confess that this paper is resolutely refusing to come to a nice, tidy end. I shall be giving it at the “graveyard slot” at the end of the conference, and although I certainly haven’t been given a brief to round off the proceedings – I wouldn’t be so vain as to imagine such a thing! – I do feel inhibited by the thought of so many as yet unheard papers before my own, final one. What if they’re all much more brilliant than my own? What if my arguments have already been expressed more coherently by numerous speakers before I speak? What if they all express different views to mine? Worse, what if my arguments have effectively been shot down a dozen times before I stand up to speak? And worst of all, what if there’s hardly anyone left to hear me at all?
This conference may attract a slightly different audience to those I’ve spoken at before, and that’s another factor to put me on my mettle.
Meanwhile, here I sit with 1,600 words and most of a PowerPoint presentation. Stuck, with a cup of tea for company, and an apple in a vain attempt to avoid the biscuit barrel!