Deadline is this summer - let's do it together!


Ady, your post is spooky because your history is exactly the same as mine.


Just checking in folks to let you know that the 'Fay Weldon' approach to my thesis seems to be working, ie new work in the morning, editing etc in the afternoon. I'll have to credit her in my acknowledgements - if I ever get there!


Hi everyone! Been a bit quiet on the forum as I have been busy with the thesis. Over the weekend I have completed the acknowledgements, symbols and abbreviations list, ch 3 graphs annotations and ch 7 discussion editing and clarification. I have updated the contents with page numbers up to ch 4.

So to finish off I have graphs for ch 4,5,6 and 7 to annotate (cut and paste from results) and insert into each chapter. Then finally update the contents page. I am hoping to get this done in the evenings this week. Once done it will be put in PDF format for printing for me to look over while my sups can view and comment the final version. Bit worried that I can see the finish line but my sups may add a few extra hurdles along the way lol.

Thanks Ady for the CV and letter advice, I shall update mine with this in mind! I could do it after submission so it is ready for when we move late summer :-)

Well done Fm with the job, hope it is going well (up)


Hey All

Just wondering how everybody is getting on? Dunni I know, is motoring and closer everyday:-) Pink you (always) sound so upbeat and seem to writing, writing. Is it just me that gets so paralysed by fear that I 'fear' I'll never do it??:-( For me the productivity is not really an issue as 'fear' drives me to work, work, work. However, I'm terrified I won't be 'able' to do it. Please tell me I'm not unique??


absolutely not! I totally go through the same fear as you everyday!! I've had a panic attack in the middle of the night in early January.

I think the trick is to find strategies that make you 'less fearful' about it all. I'll write down my strategies here in case it helps someone else :)

1. schedule, schedule, schedule. I have a diary with monthly views. For each chapter I need to write, I have a strip of thin post it notes (the ones you use to mark pages in books) with the chapter title - this represents a week of work on that chapter. Sometimes the chapter will have two strips if I think it'll take two weeks.
I stick these strips around my monthly calender to tell me that, yes I do have enough time to get it all done! I do it on post-it-notes now because from previous experience, I know some chapter might take longer, or I want to write them in different order. So it's easier to move things around on post-its than having to rub out some writing.
This system lets me know that it's all in hand and that I just have to worry about the current chapter I am working on.

2. Knit-crochet-knit! I find that fear sets in more in the evening, after I finished working for the day. So now, I knit or crochet in the evenings to keep my mind off work. Of course it doesn't have to be knitting or crochet, but something that can occupy your mind, not too taxing and can be done for several hours. My mother is slightly confused as I am suppose to be writing my thesis yet I am churning out knitting and crochet stuff faster than ever!
In some strange sense, this also teaches me visually that doing a little bit each day will get the job done... does that make sense?

3. Writing goals. I've set myself the task that on a working day, I have to write minimum 1000 words. Assuming I need to write about 10,000 words to be cut down later to 80,000 words, writing 1000 words a day means each day, I am completing 1% of my thesis.... so I need 100 days for the first draft.... this way, it's a lot easier (for me) to keep track of how far I am from the goal, and ensure that I have enough days left. It's only a rough guide, but it's better than no guide for me :)

Hope this helps xx


Thanks Pink for words of support. I wish I did knit or crochet as I can see how something physically getting larger each day could help with the visualisation process. My approach is a bit different, I don't set myself word targets rather sub section targets. I am meeting them but can't help feeling that what I am writing is a total load of tosh!!

My escapisms are reading crime (way too much of that but hey, it's me) and (I wish I could reduce the font size for this), ironing! Half of my family wear a uniform so there's always those to iron alongside the regular stuff. Now that is sad :-(

Don't mind me, I'm usally pretty positive and if I do get down, it only lasts for a very short time. It's just that lately all I can think of is what I haven't done, not what I have. That sort of thinking is not going to get this thesis written however. Postive thoughts only allowed for me from now on :p

Thanks again


Can I join?

I am hoping to submit in July/August. My funding runs out at the end of September so I have until then really. I am not accepting the possibility that I might go over- My supervisor told me he is a firm believer in Parkinson's law, that the time it takes us to do something is largely determined by how long we have to do it, and I tend to agree. But then again I have only had feedback on one of my chapters so far so I have no idea how much extra time it'll take me to get the rest of my chapters thesis ready so in the back of my mind I'm not sure.

So far I have written two analytic chapters, a chunk of my literature review and I have a deadline for a third chapter at the end of the month. I am not quite panicking but recently realised I really need to get a move on so I have been using PinkNumbers' tactic of writing 1000 words a day which is really working.

I will be checking in on this thread to keep me going over the next few months!


Welcome onboard Star-Shaped, the summer 2011 deadline express:-)


Hi Ady, I have similar concerns aswell - doesn't this go with doing a PhD?! When I started writing up I was worried whether I could write that much, yet I was overworded. I set similar tasks to those described by Pink Numbers. I set out a timeline in a gantz table to keep me on track and luckily I was ahead of schedule. Now I worry about the thesis being good enough to attain a doctorate. Is it technical enough? Do the stats and figures hold up? Is it unique with a contribution to knowledge? Have I missed out some fundamental refs? Can I defend this effectively in a viva? Do I know enough of the broader area? Can I remember it all at the viva (I am really bad at remembering names lol)? I try to keep focused on completing the thesis as I know that these thought are there at the back of my mind all the time. I have to push these doubts aside to be productive. Having hubby and you lovely PhDers to use as a sounding board does help no end. But only the sups and examiners will declare if the thesis is 'worthy'. As long as I submit and attend the viva I have a chance and what will be - will be. Once it is submitted, I will feel more relaxed and this will benefit the whole family, gosh I am looking forward to that day!

So I guess what I am rambling on about is, we all have doubts about the work with similarities too. Believe in yourself (will try to heed this one myself lol) that you can submit. Go for it (up)


Thanks Dunni, much appreciated. Actually I remember one day a lecturer and I were discussing the PhD process and I muttered something about self-doubt etc. I remember her looking at me quizzically and saying "oh but that never goes away!".

I'm a nincompoop, albeit a nincompoop doing a PhD ;-)


Ady - I love what the lecturer said, it's good to know that even the people look up to go through the same thing as us mere mortals! ;)


Dunni, I know several post-docs who still doubt their ability to make an 'original contribution' and they've already passed! One of them still thinks an examiner will change their mind and find out she did something wrong even though it was four years ago.
I think this 'contribution' bit is what worries me most. I'm happy with my data collection and analysis but what is it really telling us and how is it improving our knowledge? Is it just really worth a Mphil and not a phd? How can we tell?

Someone told me that what you really need for a phd is dogged perseverance rather than intelligence but I think you also need self-faith, which I'm lacking a bit at the moment. It worries me that my supervisor has never supervised a phd student before and has only coped with masters students until now.


Patience - I have similar worries about sup not being experienced enough to maybe spot errors and omissions in the thesis. Is it possible for you to get someone else, either a colleague that has already got thier PhD in a similar area as yourself or even an external person?


Thanks Patience, I love the postdoc worries as I am sure this will be me in a few years lol. As for dogged-perseverence I think that is one (?) quality that I have considering the obstacles that have graced my PhD journey. But I am still going along with it so we will see if it pays off!

How is everyone progressing on their theses? How many chapters left to do in what time? Keep working at it however slowly - as they say the tortoise won the race over the hare!

Ok enough tea (children just dropped off with childminder), work to do now (up)


Hi All

Have had my 'fix' of my lunchtime soap :$, so can now get back to work.

I am re-drafting chapters two and three at the moment and hope to send them to my supervisor the first week in March. I am also analysing with a view to getting a 1st draft of a findings chapter off to my supv mid March. Analysis for findings I do in the mornings, re-drafting in the afternoons, grading undergrad work in the evenings - wot a fun life!!

My supv has some really good suggestions one of which using 'boxes' along the way. So for example instead of having a separate sub-section on ethics (I work with under 18s) I am going to insert ethical thought boxes along the way, the idea being that they will interupt the text as they interupted my data colletion. It's a nice way to present it but it's challenging. With a sub-section I can write away, with a box I have to be very concise. Still I think it adds to it.

After that I hope to have a draft of preliminary conlusions in April-ish (!!!) - could I possibly have a full first thesis draft by end of April???? I live in hope...

Good luck all

BTW Patience, I worry about post PhD as well. Not postdoc as I don't want to go that route. I'm fortunate in that my supv is very experienced so I will trust him when he says I am ready to submit. Pink's suggestion to get another reader is a good one. I know people who have done this. Do you have a 2nd supervisor, 2nd reader as some people call them?