Blog

Live blogging the article: 14 -16 June

On Friday, I picked up the two books that I’d ordered up from Library storage. And that’s it.

So this series so far seems to be: and then I made a plan, and then the plan didn’t happen, and then I made a plan and then I did less work than I planned.

And there are lots of real world reasons for that. But also some lessons for me that might generalise to your situation.

I’ve been struggling with sinusitus for over a month now (the acute infection was dealt with through the magic of antibiotics… the chronic sniffle seems to only be cured by the end of winter).

Then on Wednesday, someone left a round of reinforced plastic strapping tape (picture below, yeah, that stuff) on the footpath outside my university, I duly stepped into it, over it, and found myself flat on the pavement in a puddle.  My glasses broke.  My shoulders were all wrenched. I walked around all day in a wet wool dress and I got a cold. I still can’t put my coat by myself.

Reinforced plastic strapping tape

So, a shit week.

Also, marking.

*Lesson: Be kind to yourself.  If you told me this story, I’d have sent you home for a day of snuggling under the quilt and drinking hot chocolate. When it happened to me? Let’s just say I’m working on this lesson.

***

Secondly, we meet the problem of knowing I’ve set unrealistic targets, especially this week. 3 hours a week was always the ideal, 2 hours was more realistic. And I got about 2 hours work done.

Can you really write an article on 2 hours work a week? I did for Judith Wright, but I also needed a massive push at the end and was 3 weeks late for my deadline.  I’m trying to avoid that this year.  Articles are never the distilled work of 5 years of research (that’s a PhD thesis) and too much research actually makes a terrible article (the articles I wrote that tried to condense years of research were all summarily rejected).  In 7-10K, you can only do a little bit, and only put forward one argument (and only one that moves the field forward in a small way). That’s okay.

*Lesson: Don’t forget that stretch targets give you wriggle room to wriggle out of work. It’s one of the big procrastination problems. I did the same with the marking–I knew I could only do about 6 hours in a day, so I wasted the first two hours because I didn’t want to do it, and then had to work late and didn’t quite get finished. I don’t know if there’s an answer to this except… be realistic.

***

Finally, I Feel All The Guilt.

I know I shouldn’t. But I still do.

I feel like I’m letting down my editor. The potential readers of my article. Myself. Scholarship.

 I don’t have an answer for this one yet, except to be honest that it’s happening.  I’m not doing this series so you can see how you ought to write an article, I’m doing so you know how I really do write the article, and this is pretty typical for me.

Not sure why I fantasised that I was going to be perfect just because I was blogging about it. 

Oh, that one.  Yeah, I’m working on learning that lesson too.

*Lesson. Remember how 80% is excellent? Sometimes, 66% is competent, and that’s okay. 

SHARE
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on facebook

Succeeding in a Research Higher Degree

Doing a Research Higher Degree (like a PhD) is hard, but lots of people have succeeded and you can too. It’s easier if you understand how it works, this blog gives you the insider view.

Contact

Related Posts

Proactive communication: newsletters and other stories

If you feel overwhelmed by your inbox and meeting demands, you are likely to be dealing with the challenge of reactive communication. That is, every day, you open your inbox and find tens or even hundreds of requests for information and tasks. Like many people, you may start the day with a sense of dread.

Read More

The “Writing Oxygen” and other tales from inside a writing house

Writing has technical aspects, sure. You need skills, and training. And you need to be organised and disciplined about keeping up with deadlines and juggling projects. And writing has physical challenges, you have to sit and use your back and wrists and neck and eyes. But, you also bring your weird, inner, non-rational self to the desk when you write. The inner self that has views about what music you can listen to, or that you need to enact your writing rituals before typing a word. There are good reasons why you might like what you like, but a lot of it just is personal preference, and that is totally a great reason to take it seriously.

Read More

Get the latest blog posts