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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Post summer review (or, where I am now)

Back in June, my supervisors Bobby and Alison asked me to write my first chapter, alongside a paper about the archive work I've been doing. Just as I was looking forward to a summer of holidays, family visits and wall to wall reading, my mental goal posts shifted, and I had to quickly buckle down.

First thoughts were 'how?' and I have to admit to being wracked with uncertainty and self doubt.
These, I know, go with the territory of writing, and so I had a firm word with myself and started to plough through. I read Dr Inger Mewburn's book 'How to Tame your PhD' and took the advice she gives. Dr Mewburn, also known online as 'The Thesis Whisperer' is an Australian academic, and we were lucky enough to meet her at a PhD Researcher's workshop at Corsham Court recently. She recommends working in chunks, and disciplining yourself to tackling daily 'chunks', which makes you more productive, less likely to go off the boil, and also enables a life to take place in between. It was sound advice, and one I would highly recommend.

Even so, the mental challenge of keeping going has been extremely challenging. This is the part of the process I'm going to struggle with the most, particularly since depression and I have been close acquaintances over many years. On a positive note it does mean that I have an understanding of how depression affects me, and a helpful degree of self knowledge, but I can see that this is going to become even more important over the coming months and years of PhD research.

I managed to write both the chapter and the Archive development paper, hand them in two weeks ahead of schedule, and do quite a few other fun things as well. Nonetheless this first 'Writing Summer' has been a steep learning curve, for me as well as the rest of the family.     

1 comment:

  1. Very intuitive Kate. The chapter worked too. I appreciated how difficult it is to knuckle down and write - research is just so much more fun!!!