just WRITE!

moleskineI have not blogged much lately and I feel a bit bad about it. Thinking of it, I have a pretty good excuse. Remember my post about going nuts over my data analysis chapter? Well, this is more or less over. At least, I have put it behind me for now, until my supervisors tell me I need to do more analysis.

Being done with data analysis means moving on to the very exciting discussion chapter, where you have to explain your findings, what they mean, and why. That involves a lot more writing and creativity! So I think it might be the reason why I have failed to blog much…like there is a cap on the amount of words I can produce. Now the creative juices are flowing and I cannot stop writing, so I am taking the opportunity to reflect on this writing process.

First of all, it takes dedication:  For the very first time, I skipped going home for Christmas in order to have my head into my writing. Mum, Dad, forgive me for skipping Christmas.

Second of all, I think it was worth it because I’ve written loads: barely anyone in the office, minor amount of distractions (I still partied and ate my weight in turkey, don’t worry) and a constant stream of ideas to put on paper. Too many ideas in fact. Surely I will have to cut through this verbal diarrhoea after the first round of supervisory comments.

Third of all, accept your massive #fails: it’s OK to fall asleep on your keyboard – or under your desk – every now and then (understand every day), to freak out over a blank page for 3 hours and write nothing, to drink more coffee than you can admit and to zone out during a conversation because you are thinking of your last unfinished sentence.

I still managed to take a small week-end break to air my thoughts, and I am now back to it. Counting my daily words and posting them on Twitter as a way to annoy everyone and keep my motivation up (sorry!).

Anyone experiencing the joys of the PhD write-up or other forms of intensive or creative writing?

How is it going for you?


PhD writing resources:

General writing tips from the Next Scientist blog

Tips from the discussion chapter from PhD students Emma Burnett , Pat Thomson and from The Thesis Whisperer

4 thoughts on “just WRITE!”

  1. Seize the opportunity and JUST write 🙂
    Even after getting comments from supervisors I think when u r in such a phase of the PhD u can twig it or even discard a comment completely because u know about your “baby” well enough now.

    I am not in that phase but I am writing a lot of ideas and even paragraphs for my discussion section. They are sort of expectations for what my data would look like (I have not “done” my field word yet!) but I am happy about it, all of it. Not just because it keeps me motivated but I know I will be using some of those paragraphs as corner stones in my discussion(s).

    All the best Laurence, keep writing, it never goes to a waste, never.

  2. Hi Haitham! I completely agree, sometimes you just have to settle and make a decision: your supervisors have more experience, but you know your thesis inside and out. I also think it’s a good idea to be writing notes for your discussion already, you will certainly use some of that material and it will make it easier for you to start writing the discussion when you get to it. All the best in securing your data access in the meantime 😉

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