A group of us in my department, at a similar stage of our PhDs (so, all writing-up, post-fieldwork, in-the-middle-of-panicking) have decided to start up a writing group. We met today to decide what to do – it will involve producing 2 or 3 pages for each meeting (to be taken away and read by the others, and receiving feedback at the next meeting), and also having a defined topic on the day that we write for 10-15 minutes on there and then. The idea is to get us into a bit more of a writing groove, and also get some feedback from people other than our supervisors to get another take on what we’re doing. We’re also hoping that it will give a bit of clarity and focus to what we’re writing, as sometimes you can be so caught up in the panic that you forget what exactly it is you’re doing! We’re going to meet properly for the first time next week, bringing something that we’ve been writing (as an example, it could be a section of a thesis chapter, or a bit of an article or conference paper, or a reflection on why we don’t know what we’re doing, or thoughts about an issue that we haven’t quite got our heads round, or something like that), and we’ve decided that for our 10 minute writing task we are going to write a summary of what our theses are about. This is the bit that, for me, I think is going to be most useful. I have been so caught up in job applications and whathaveyou that my thesis feels totally neglected, to the point that I panic that I can’t remember what it’s about.

Talking of jobs, I didn’t get shortlisted for the job at my university, which to be honest was a bit of a surprise. Not that I think I’m God’s Gift, but I did feel I met all the criteria and some. I guess I didn’t. I did though have an email from a friend who got her PhD a couple of years ago, and has just started her first lecturing job after a series of random jobs here and there and about a million applications for various teaching posts. She was quite blunt, but that’s what I needed – she said that the chances are the people who have been shortlisted have already got their PhDs, and that I am entitled to ask for feedback as to why I wasn’t shortlisted. Which I think I will do, as maybe it will help with future applications. In the meantime though I have found a 6 month research assistant post here which looks like a lot of fun, something I’d enjoy doing if we haven’t got anything else in the pipeline, and HD hopefully has an interview down south soon (he needs to hear again from the agency, who I must say are being a bit unimpressive). I’m trying really hard not to get anxious (as is my wont) but it’s not very easy.

On that note, I appear to have run out of clothes, so had better do some ironing. I have been putting it off for weeks (hence the lack of wearable clothes), which is silly as ironing is the one household chore that I do actually like.

8 thoughts on “Writing

  1. I’m cracking open a bottle now. I’ve got a small pile to iron too! 🙂

    Oh – and good re: writing group – and hope at least one of you gets a job soon.

  2. I’m impressed on the writing up group, but not on this ‘need to iron’ thing. Iron? What’s that?

    And ask for feedback. In my experience its usually very helpful.

  3. I too add my chorus to the “Writing group sounds cool” choir.

    Ask for feedback too. As ferijen wrote it is helpful. And well done on the research assistant post too!

    Continued prayers for you and HD: and I shall imagine a hot poker doing its job to get the agency into action. 🙂

  4. This sounds like an excellent idea. I especially like the fact that it is not just focussing specifically on your theses, and writing them, but it is aimed at encouraging you to write generally. This will motivate you to write your thesis, but also to write more. Win win.

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