Lara's Writing Up Diary - inspired by Jojo


Glad to hear our messages cheered you up :)

writing is more of a psychological thing, than anything else..

it takes a huge amount of positive thinking and determination to sit and write. not alot of people can just sit and write for hours on end, without getting bored or distracted.

Yeh, better to work on a chapter you enjoy, because you will feel better that you have something done.

You can always set yourself time limits for the horrible chapter, and say to yourself, you can ONLY spend 10minutes or 30minutes on the chapter, for that particular day and then your time is up, and you can't work on it anymore.

That's what i did yesterday, I spent 30minutes on freewriting about the chapter i hate. and then felt better afterwards.

my day was okay, will update later :) mostly reading papers and making notes verbatim. making a mess


Hey BB, i hope you managed to get a good night sleep tonight, so you can start bright eyed and bushy tailed tommorow

i'm done for today.

words verbatim (notes from papers) = 2440 (mostly will be irrevelant and mostly are junk -just adding to the primordial soup of my zero draft of introduction of one of my results chapters.

actual productive time spent on working on thesis (reading papers, writing notes etc) = 2 hours and 40minutes.



Hi Lara,

Wow, thanks for all the help, you are a star. I had a better day today. What I have done:
Data chapter 2 analysis
Data chapter 2 figure.
It wasn't much but its a lot better than yesterday.
How did you get on?


I've done a thesis plan, which I did a while ago, but I updated it this morning, and it did make me feel better. I'm going to did a stopwatch out and try timing my "productive" work as you suggested.

I think I had a bad day yesterday, but I also think it forced me to turn a corner, psycologically speaking. I was getting too stressed, as I feel that I've invested at lot in this PhD, but it hasn't been going very well, and I felt like it was some sort of personal reflection. But I had a talk with my friend, and she helped me realise it is only work. Yes I have to work hard for the next few months, but I also need to switch off and try to find ways to stop thinking about it when I'm not working. I don't HAVE to but I'm doing it because I want to.


I meant, I don't have to do it, but I'm doing because I want to.
Why can't you edit posts on this forum?


Hey BB nice to hear from you! and you're very welcome, it's my pleasure.

i was just thinking about you earlier, wondering how you were getting on.

that's great progress you have done! i know how long it can take doing data analysis and making figures, so that's one less thing you will have to do!

yah try the timer thing and noting down actual productive time, it really helps to figure out where all the hours in the day dissapear off to


i know what you mean, i too feel like that. i was telling all my friends, i am a failure, and i am the worst phd student in history, etc etc. and i felt so depressed. but they were all like, do your best, that's all that matters, and don't focus on whether you pass or fail. if you do fail, it wont be the end of the world. just write the thesis for yourself, so at the end of the 3 months you have written it, and did your best.


then i thought to myself... today right now, i still have 3 months infront of me. i still have the chance to wrap this baby up! it's not like my thesis is due next week and i have written zilch. THAT would be the worst possible scenario.

so as long as i work on my thesis everyday no matter how much or how little, everyday is what counts. it's a marathon, not a sprint..

and i have this quote on a postit stuck to the bottom of my monitor

"you'll be amazed at how much work is possible to accomplish in a month , if its the LAST month" (joan bolker)

so i try to think that my thesis is due in a month, and i am planning on writing very crappy zero drafts. but then i will know i still have the following month to improve on them. i rather have crappy drafts of chapters, than blank chapters!

right now i am just focused on getting zero drafts done of my chapters, just so that i feel psychologically comforted that i have something down on paper.


i am dreading my meeting with my supervisor, when he will ask me what i have done! i have a meeting with him in a couple of weeks, and i know he's going to be so angry and berate me.. but i will just have to take it... he wants to know exactly what i have done.. so i will tell him i have zero drafts of X number of chapters... he wont read them, because i will tell them, they are shi*te.. and he refuses to look at drafts, only wants to see polished versions, but at least psychologically for myself, i wont feel like the chapters are blank..


but you're friend is right. at the end of the world, it really is just "work" and there is more to life. just for these 3 months, just think you've been sentenced. but after the 3 months, you will be released. that's what i think, i've been given a jail sentence. and to pass the time, i might aswell work on the thesis. lol

some people just have a tougher time with their phds, because things don't go as easy or its more difficult. that's the whole point of research, you don't know where you will end up.

don't beat yourself up. the fact you're trying to write your thesis in these 3 months, is brilliant, and it makes me feel better to have a partner in crime!

i'm really glad you updated your thesis out line and it made you feel better. that's great!


*clocks in*

9 pages of handwritten notes (verbatim, and my own ramblings and thoughts and ideas)

productive time = 2 hours and 35 minutes.

lol for some strange reason, even though i do nothing but study in my study room all day, i only ever manage to get 2 hours and 30mins or so, of real productive time.

will try to improve on my "productive hour" score.. i'm competing with myself.


Lara, have you sent in all your paperwork regarding submitting? Apparently, it takes 4 months, at a minumum, to get it all sorted, so you may get a few months grace.

You can PM me, on this site, if you would like to discuss submission


I should add - I only direct the 'other' forum as I don't want to put my email on here.


Hi Lara. You might have answered this somewhere else on the forum, but I was just wondering whether you spoke to your supervisors after that horrid email you got on Saturday?

Hope all is well.



takes breaks and reward yourself often. you'll be more productive then.