Writing: I just can't get down to it......

02-Oct-08, 22:13
Avatar for PinkNeuron
posted about 12 years ago
Who has a problem with writing?
I am really struggling to just get down and write. I am in my second year, I am 1/3rd through testing my main project (300) participants, completed another but I just can't seem to sit down and write. My Prof. is on my case to get something in to him to read. Yes, I am totally snowed under, testing: plan is, that I test until the end of the year, then analyze, then write and publish. I need to start writing and I am finding it hard to just sit and do it. Am I alone, is all lost because I am in my second year and I am struggling to do this? I need to finish my PhD by Jan 2010 for many reasons, someone, KICK ME. Hi everyone, I have been quiet for ages......:)
02-Oct-08, 22:20
edited about 18 seconds later
by phdbug
Avatar for phdbug
posted about 12 years ago
hey, writing is a mind thing really, you just have to slot aside time for it, and promise yourself u'll get SOMETHING down. also never ever trash any of your written stuff, u can get things outof it later.

tell us, how much ( in words) have you written till now? The real count? You must have some idea right?Also, what has your prof been reading til now? what hav u been showing him to read? Get all of that, and make a total and see how many words you can use?
02-Oct-08, 22:33
Avatar for PinkNeuron
posted about 12 years ago
I think you are right, Phdbug, I just need to set aside a time to do it. I have got about 5000 odd words made up from my MSc project, and this project. Most of it, I have sent my Prof. but he doesn't read it, he is not the greatest supervisor in town. He just wants my data to get some publications with his name on. I need to find a slot in my day, I think, to just write. I have a week to get him something, I cancelled today's meeting and it has given me a week to get something down. I never thought this would be a problem, I thought the testing would be hard, the testing is time consuming (1.5 hours per participant) but easier than writing. I guess it is easier because I have to make an appointment and honour it.
03-Oct-08, 10:58
by A116
Avatar for A116
posted about 12 years ago

I really struggle. Also in my second year but my PhD is in two phases the first of which finishes in January so I need to be writing big time now.

The thing I've found works for me is to do a plan literally paragraph by paragraph.

So, firstly Introduction. Within the introduction I have to say what the Introduction will address, a systematic review for example (paragraph 1), then define what a systematic review is (paragraph 2), then say why I need to do a systematic review (paragraph 3). I'm planning on doing this for every chapter because this is the only way I seem to be able to weave the story of the work (that's sounds very airy fairy doesn't it!!).

Hope this helps.

03-Oct-08, 11:36
by rubyw
Avatar for rubyw
posted about 12 years ago
I can't get down to it sometimes, in fact the whole prospect seems really tortuous at times and I am nearing the end of mine! When I'm really stuck, I often start by making a sort of mind map or diagram of what I want to include in a chapter then flesh it out gradually with details, ideas, key book or journal references. It's a bit like A116's way of working really.

I don't like doing it on the computer when I'm stuck either, as I'd rather be faced with a blank page in a notepad than a blank computer screen, for some reason it seems easier to start doodling and working out ideas on paper, maybe it seems less serious or daunting or something and gets the mind working with less pressure.

You've got lots of time though - perhaps you could sort out a plan of work with your supervisor with lots of deadlines for writing for the next year? I've had that during my final writing up year and it's worked for me, as they're frequent enough to stop me having long gaps where I write nothing, plus the panic and fear of not meeting the deadlines forces me to do it. I was surprised to hear that even supervisors and established academics also have trouble getting down to their own writing sometimes, so you are definitely not alone!!

I also found 'The Clockwork Muse' by Zerubavel helpful when I admitted to myself I was a bit crap at time management and getting down to writing - I realised with horror that I didn't have much time left and had to find a different way of working. Other people on here seem to swear by Joan Bolker's 'write your dissertation in 15 mins' though I've not read it.


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