Live blogging the article: Your Responses 3 July

I’ve been really touched at the response to this series–thanks to everyone who has commented, retweeted, shared or mentioned it.  I’ll do a Friday update on what my research actually looked like, but here are 3 things people have said over the last week, which are worth sharing in full, and then I’m going to reflect on them.


My old colleague at Academic Skills, Dawn Gilmore (@dawngilmore9) sent me a tweet three days ago via @paulcoelho.

Writing is a socially acceptable form of getting naked in public #shutupandwrite

Good grief, yes. I grew up in Hong Kong and in the UK–I’m fantastic at putting on a good face, at being all together in public.  And the last couple of weeks, I haven’t been.  And  taking off of my armour has left me a bit vulnerable–but no-one has used it as an opportunity to stick the knife in. Instead, I’ve been treated to a wonderful Circle of Niceness.  Perhaps because I’ve been self-disclosing (sharing intimate details), which allows others to reciprocate, and then they like you more, as long as it’s appropriate!  [This has long been argued, see Cozby (1972) in ‘Self-Disclosure, Reciprocity and Liking’, plus  Jourard (1959, 1964) and Gouldner (1960)]. But also ’cause you are all fantastic!


Jonathan O’Donnell (@researchwhisper, of the fantastic Research Whisperer blog) made a comment on my last post:

This ‘writing in public’ thing looks hard, Katherine.

I think you deserve to go easy on yourself. Then again, I always go easy on myself, so that is my advice in 99% of situations.

I worked with someone who was a tent boss for circuses. In that job, she was responsible for the safety of everybody in the tent. At the end of the day, she really could (and did) say, “Did anyone get hurt? Did anyone die? No? OK, that was a good day.”

Sounds like you had a day where you had to say, “Yes, I got hurt today. I stressed myself out and it hurt. A lot!” Since you are working alone, it seems to me that you need to be your own health and safety rep – maybe put up a “x days since last migraine” sign.

Can’t hurt (well, not as much as a migraine anyway).

Thanks Jonathan! I love the idea of being my own health and safety rep. That breaks the toxic cycle of being my own boss, whose insecurities are passed on to me in a series of micromanaging, guilt-inducing, hurt-feelingsed hints and suggestions.  I hate that kind of boss, I hate working in that kind of workplace, and I can, and will, stop creating that kind of workplace for myself.


Lauren Piko (@book_learning) got in touch last week via Twitter:

It’s been very helpful to see other’s work patterns during rough patches though, very grateful for your sharing+
Getting a lot out of these posts because while I know I need to kill off perfectionism, it’s hard to know what it looks like …
+ to be more accepting and self-caring/understanding in academic practice, because there are no models on how to do it!

This is precisely what this series of posts is about.  Not how I meant it to be when I started, of course. It was supposed to be a ‘first do this kind of literature search, then take these kinds of notes, then generate this kind of writing, then do this kind of editing’ series.  Instead, like Thesis Boot Camp, like Shut Up and Write, like Inger Mewburn (and company, love the guest posts) at The Thesis Whisperer blog, or Pat Thompson’s Patter blog, we end up dealing with identity, with pathology, with this strange place of the academy and the ways in which is estranges and strangifies us.


Two non-words, three thoughtful responses, and some stuff to help me on my way towards my next writing stint–starting Now!

(Post written at Shut Up and Write).


  1. Katherine

    I signed up the other days in anticipation of a (yet to be approved) doctoral program next year. Thanks for this blog, its great.

    Are you aware of the work on vulnerability done by Brene Brown and her ‘chart tipping’ TED Talk? Here are a couple of links:

    I am very taken by this stuff. I am preaching at St John’s on it.

    Richard Wilson +61 417 014 595

    1. Thanks Richard. I suppose it wasn’t long before the parts of my life collided! I think a doctoral program will suit you very well, so good luck with it all!
      I’ll be listening to the recording with interest, thanks for sharing!

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