How to write an academic article in International Law? Keeping track with new ideas

In another entry I wrote about free writing on international law, I focused more on jumping on the white page and start writing, and doing it every day, at least aiming at filling pages rather than be seated down and writing for a stretch of time.

There might be times that when I write, as freely as a bird an as unchained as a cougar on the wilderness of International Law, I get distracted with new ideas, and I don’t know really what to do with them, specially when the focus is in one idea or theme, even if one is a cougar on the wilderness it might be that you cannot go from the sabanna to the beach, so if is the time to be focusing in that moment in one little theme, and then, it pops-up a new tree, totally different with the one that I am playing around, I open a new word file.

To keep track of those new sparks you can set a parking lot for new ideas, the tool that I use as a parking lot is an excel spreadsheet. Simple, uncomplicated but as well organized.

What to do first?

Open a new folder, and you can name it, parking lot, my name for such parking lot is ‘Idea’s log’ (unoriginal I know). Then I open subfolders and enumerate and name it with the possible titles, and within such subfolder I open a Word file and start typing as fast and as free as possible, and then close the file and let simmer the ideas for a while. At least they are there. And if I have some references I write about them. And then close the file.

Then, I open my spreadsheet.

In here is divided in the following terms

Possible ThemesResearch questionsRefined research questionsMain possible answerSubsequent possible answersContrary argument to possible answerAnswer to the contrary argumentPossible main titlePossible subtitlesMain sources of inspirationPossible IntroductionPossible Conclusion

I enumerate each possible article and then after a while I will have tons of ideas, at least they are there, it doesn’t matter to me if there is no progress. There is no rush, at least the ideas are there and at least I can say that they are store safely somewhere and hopefully one day I will follow up on the ones that I like the most.

Some ideas will pass the test of time some will not. No issue.

The aim here is to keep track of my ideas, and then I can start writing more focused on such ideas or get back to the main idea that I want to develop for the moment.

After a while of free writing on a more focused idea, I can start figuring out a possible research question, and that is where the cookie crumbles. The mighty research question. Why it is so important?

But that is for a next entry.

Have fun writing!

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