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!


7 thoughts on “Coming back from the (non writing) wilderness

  1. Thanks for sharing Marianne, I enjoyed reading this. I could see you in your office at your desk as the sun came up typing away. I hope the day was brilliant for you. Congratulations on the publication. I am still waiting on news for mine since July (ho hum) but hopefully soon. I’ve heard it can take as long as forever!
    I enjoyed the MOOC very much being a newby PhD and I love @thesiswhisperer! I do take your point about the motivation being its ‘meaningfulness’ – there has to be more to it. I’m hoping to make a difference in special needs with my research, looking at the nature of relationships between teachers and learning support officers. Let’s see…
    It’s funny you also mention scrivener. I have been trialling it for the last 30 days or so and just this morning bought a license. It is not expensive just under $60AUD I really like using it and hope to learn more as I continue to delve into the mechanics of the program.
    All the best Marianne,

    • Glad you like it! Sounds like you kicked off your phd in the best possible way! (mooc, paper, awesome topic!) . Good to hear your experience of scrivener – $60 seems like a very good investment!

  2. Hi Marianne, great post, thanks for sharing. I was wondering if you have heard of I was reading another of Debsnet #HDRBlog15 challenge posts when I ran across it, and have decided to sign up. It might get you past a future blogblock 🙂

  3. I like Scrivener too! although I’ve bumped into ComWriter now and I must admit that I like the simplicity of it and the capacity to handle references. 🙂

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