Enjoying writing up?!?

posted
06-Aug-09, 12:12
edited about 29 seconds later
by Sue2604
Avatar for Sue2604
posted about 10 years ago
Hi all

I'm at the start of the writing up stage, and am progressing very slowly. Working very hard, making slow progress and not being particularly cheery about it. My partner today said that I seem to be having more bad days than good days - can't disagree there - and that I should be enjoying my PhD more (bitter laugh from me!). I replied that I see the writing up as an endurance test, and don't expect that it will be particularly enjoyable. Hard to have a good time when the pressure of 100,000 words in 3 months looms constantly, and chapters take sooooo much longer than anticipated. Explained all this, to which the reply was that this would lead to insanity. Well, yes!!

I think it's going well if I have any good days at all to enjoy! How are others going? Are you finding the process enjoyable overall, or is it a marathon endurance test that we just have to get through?? Replies also appreciated from those who can look back at this process!

Mind you, if everyone agrees with me that this is just a pain to get through, then that confirms my partner's opinion that this forum is for unhappy PhD students to complain on...

Thanks all. Now, back to that pesky little 5,000 word chapter that I just can't seem to nail....
posted
06-Aug-09, 13:04
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 10 years ago
The writing up (which I've virtually finished) was by far the least enjoyable stage of my PhD process. This was despite me having plenty of time to do it because I started writing up really early. I found it a horrible process, the feedback from my supervisor soul-destroying, especially early on, and the constant pressure to produce good words terrible. I was glad when it was finished. Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed the rest of the PhD - but the writing up bit was, for me, awful.
posted
06-Aug-09, 13:09
edited a moment later
by Danzig
Avatar for Danzig
posted about 10 years ago
Same here. I am coming to the end of my writing up period. Have to hand in the complete draft to my supervisors by the end of next week and submit the corrected draft for examination Mid-September.

The write-up is hell for me. Hate the thesis at this stage. I know I will love it again when it gets me through the viva but that does not take away from the feelings I have at the moment. Love the research, hate the thesis, love writing papers though. Strange.
posted
06-Aug-09, 14:14
edited about 17 seconds later
by Ju-ju
Avatar for Ju-ju
posted about 10 years ago
I have to say, I quite liked writing up! I really enjoyed pulling all my chapters together and making a nice story - plus it felt great to finally see the project written down and formatted and pretty! I was under pressure to finish on time (but only from myself - I did not want to work for no money!) Now, working as a post doc, I have to say, I really miss those days of writing away and really feeling like I was master of my subject (my post doc is scary and new).. I also miss my old office friends - it is amazing what a difference having nice people around you can make! When writing- you are the boss, and I really miss that too ... ah big sigh...
posted
06-Aug-09, 16:12
edited about 2 seconds later
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 10 years ago
Quote From Ju-ju:

I have to say, I quite liked writing up! I really enjoyed pulling all my chapters together and making a nice story - plus it felt great to finally see the project written down and formatted and pretty!


Yes there were odd moments when I appreciated that side of the writing up. I found it creative, quite stimulating, and - at times - enjoyable. But those moments were outnumbered when I felt totally dejected, it was a terrible slog, I was struggling to find a good writing voice, and I just wished desperately for it to be over.

So overall thumbs down from me, but I can see where you're coming from on this.
posted
11-Aug-09, 10:56
Avatar for Cakegirl
posted about 10 years ago
Hi,

I am having the same marathon feeling, but have made a decision that I will enjoy it, whatever! I can't see that I'll survive the next 6 months being miserable and risk alienating my friends if I'm always being down on what I do, and at the end of the day I'm here because I chose it, so I shouldn't whinge. The reality may be a little different! The downsides are that it can be incredibly dull, generally when it's going slow - and productivity seems to be a slightly temperemental thing. Writing writing reading reading writing writing... Particularly on the weekends when I'd like to do something other than work. The huge fear of whether I can/will actually do this doesn't help - particularly at odd hours of the morning when I ought to be asleep.

On the plus side, I've had some rubbish times in my PhD so I know I won't let it get that bad; this is the bit where I've got enough done to be forming what will hopefully be the end product. I also enjoy the story writing as mentioned below. All these chapters and chunks of work which seemed for so long not to relate to each other are coming together. It's just up to me to make it a story worth reading.

Now I'm off to decide what I'll enjoy about today!
posted
11-Aug-09, 12:38
edited about 11 seconds later
by Sue2604
Avatar for Sue2604
posted about 10 years ago
Quote From cakegirl:

Writing writing reading reading writing writing... 


You forgot to mention 'deleting deleting deleting'!

Thanks for your post - and everyone else too. I'm also trying to enjoy writing up, and I do like getting the story out, and still love my topic. I also get frustrated by having to do RA work, which just gets in the way, but pays the bills...Am working as hard as I can, and if it doesn't get done in 8 months, well, will just have to keep going till it does!!

Enjoy telling the story!

posted
11-Aug-09, 13:09
edited about 24 seconds later
Avatar for Cakegirl
posted about 10 years ago
And eating eating eating ...
posted
11-Aug-09, 16:56
edited about 23 seconds later
by AmyP
Avatar for AmyP
posted about 10 years ago
I'm just starting to write up, whilst finishing off the last few experiments I have on my to-do list, and so far I'm quite enjoying it. It's nice to finally have some actual finished words down on the page and I finally feel there's an end in sight. However, I know this feeling won't last and that fairly soon I'm going to hate it and be desperate to get back in the lab, so do people think that it can come down to 'mind over matter' and if you tell yourself you're enjoying what you're doing it can really make it less awful? That would be amazing!
posted
13-Aug-09, 01:15
Avatar for madeleine
posted about 10 years ago
Hello! I just put up a new writing-up thread, but should have just replied here, sorry! There seems to be a funny mixture of doom and hope on writing up. Liking the mantra of 'words on a page!' I've developed a bad habit of binge-writing, when treating it like a marathon seems to be more common..

I'm trying to reorganize a mountain of notes / all my totally disorganized work / various semi-drafted chapters (discovering with horror, stuff that's no longer relevant). It looks impossible!

Sue, how's it going? Are you full or part time? Good luck!
posted
13-Aug-09, 01:30
edited about 17 seconds later
by Sue2604
Avatar for Sue2604
posted about 10 years ago
Hi Madeleine

I'm full-time, also do some research assistance work. Things are going OK at the moment. Am now writing the third chapter, so am getting there! Yes, it does appear daunting when you start - organise everything and you'll feel a bit better. I find that buying a whole lot of beautiful new stationary and then organising folders and files makes me feel a lot better and gives me a place to start.

As for your other post on how long writing up takes - yes, it is a piece of string question! One of my supervisors said that it takes about 3-4 weeks to write a chapter. So far I've done all mine in between doing field work, so am not sure how long it's taken me. I plan to be all done by March tho.

There's another thread, called something like "10 months to go..." which also talks about writing up. Might not offer too many practical tips, but will give you some solidarity anyway!
posted
13-Aug-09, 11:38
Avatar for Cakegirl
posted about 10 years ago
Quote From Sue2604:


As for your other post on how long writing up takes - yes, it is a piece of string question! One of my supervisors said that it takes about 3-4 weeks to write a chapter.



I am really struggling with how long it takes to write each chapter - my supervisor laughed at my plan which allocated 3 weeks to write a chapter draft (how helpful!)! The chapter I just finished (well, second final draft) took ages and the first round of comments from my sv took much longer than expected - I haven't really allocated much time for readjusting chapters in my grand plan. The organisation thing is really important but because of the string effect it's also quite difficult. Scary.

Something that no write up thread should be without is a mention of Joan Bolker and her wonderful book. If you haven't already heard of her book "Writing your dissertation in 15 minutes a day" you need to! She really is wonderful, and no, I'm not on commission!
posted
13-Aug-09, 11:48
by Tricky
Avatar for Tricky
posted about 10 years ago
Am I enjoying it? Simple answer is no! :oP

I have reached a proper brick wall and struggling with motivation :o(
posted
13-Aug-09, 17:13
by AmyP
Avatar for AmyP
posted about 10 years ago
Eeek, I'm a bit worried by the comments of supervisors laughing at writing a chapter in 3 weeks- my supervisor is completely the opposite. He wrote and submitted his thesis in 3 months (then had a 2 hour viva and only a handful of minor corrections) and seems to think there should be no problem in me doing the same. If other supervisors are telling people to expect to spend much longer writing, is my supervisor some sort of writing machine having done his so quickly? And would trying to get it all done in 3 months mean chaining myself to my desk 24 hours a day? :$
posted
13-Aug-09, 21:49
by Sue2604
Avatar for Sue2604
posted about 10 years ago
Quote From AmyP:

And would trying to get it all done in 3 months mean chaining myself to my desk 24 hours a day? :$


I think your supervisor's effort of getting the thesis written and finished in 3 months is extraordinary! I'm planning on writing the first draft in 3 months, then think it will take several more months to rewrite. It does take so much longer than planned - I've been allowing a couple of days to rewrite a chapter to accommodate my supervisor's comments for eg, and it ends up taking a week. You might be a fast writer though - it's a bit of a laboured process for me, with lots of going back and rewriting as I go.

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