On starting the PhD

I know good advice. I used to be a writing teacher.  

On the all-too-rare occasions that I’ve blogged, references to my lousiness at blogging seem to have come up all-too-often. I seem to feel the need to pepper my reflective prose with mea culpas, because I actually really do believe in the value of blogging for getting woolly or amorphous thoughts out into a visible, shapeable form, and I admire many people who do it (probably on balance, more for what they have to say than sheer force of will in sticking at it, but both are vital).

When I say my lousiness at blogging I am mainly referring to the pathetic (in)frequency of my output. I tend to write quite slowly. Ideally, I would edit every syllable before it gets to the page, then edit some more. The posts that make it to the point where I click ‘publish’ have passed quality control. Others have been abandoned in those dimly lit cryosleep chambers of my computers where unwanted pieces of writing remain drafts forever (or until catastrophic systems failure). And of course I know that the point of blogging (or indeed, writing drafts and notes that will turn into ‘real writing’ later) is to get ideas down, rather than to perfect their expression. I would say that to anyone who asks. I know good advice. I used to be a writing teacher.  

All this is how it’s always been. What’s changed now and prompted my return to this apparently favourite theme is that I am now, officially, finally, doing my PhD. So I am going to try and change my relationship with blogging and drafting, and put some half-baked ideas out there. Deep breath. Here goes.

student ID cardSomething I was musing on today is this early stage of the project involves quite a bit of trying to work out what I should be doing, instead of just doing stuff. This requires a new approach. I am used to having projects on the go, and chipping away, work and life permitting, and getting them done eventually. This has been working for me, I’m comfortable with this! But now I need to be more strategic. Given that I’m studying part-time, I am aware of the danger of thinking ‘I have plenty of time’.

On the other hand, some things do take time and working out what is part of the PhD and what is related but not really part of it might well be one of them.

I would say watch this space, but you might be there a while.

Author: leohavemann

Open and digital education specialist and researcher

2 thoughts on “On starting the PhD”

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