Coming back from the (non writing) wilderness

I’ve been feeling oddly uninspired to write a blog post for some time – even though I’ve been reading other blog posts about the benefits of using it to become unstuck in your work (but what happens when the thing that is stuck is writing the blog itself??). Perhaps it’s because a huge chunk of time has been spent working on a major and complicated ethics application for my final and main study of my phd (I even devoted most of a writing retreat to preparing it, which left me feeling rather cheated and sorry for myself!). This was productive and necessary, but didn’t inspire me – even though there were interesting methodological challenges that sent me chasing my tail for some time (this from someone who generally rather quite likes writing ethics applications – really!). Even signing up to the insightful How to Survive your PhD MOOC hasn’t inspired me (even though it has been excellent).

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It’s not as if I haven’t done any other writing or reading that could fuel some meaty blog posts. In fact I got an article accepted in a peer-reviewed conference proceedings – which will be included in my thesis with publication (hooray!). The article discussed my findings from my participatory design workshops early this year.

So, what prompted me to write this blog as soon as I got in to uni and sat down at my desk today? Perhaps it has something to do with listening to the recent On Being podcast looking at how we construct and need meaning in our working life. It’s spurred me to reflect on what meaning I get from my phd and how to ensure I build these things in if I’m not currently getting them. I need to digest this a bit more but I think I’ve fallen into the trap of assuming that because my PhD topic overall is meaningful (i.e. will contribute to a better experience for doctor and young person, hopefully improve health outcomes etc) that that in itself will be enough to provide the meaning I need throughout the phd journey. But that is so vague and long term that it becomes meaningless in the day to day experience of the phd. I don’t have any answers per se, but I am going to try and be more mindful about my work and building meaning into my days.

In other news, I’ve recently downloaded the trial version of Scrivener. It comes highly recommended and I have liked what I am seeing so far. Things don’t look anywhere near as daunting in this format (and there is a bit of fun in working out a new system) – even though I do have reservations at the lack of easy syncing with my Mendeley referencing system.

There. It’s not even 9am and I have written a brand new blog post. Today is going to be a good day!