As many of you know, I have been working hard on writing a first draft of my thesis.  For a few weeks, I was finding the writing relatively easy and was not having to refer to books and journal articles.  However, when I started on the contemporary practice sections I hit the wall and my productivity began to faulter.  I wrote short pieces about some of the photographers, writers and critical theorists that have influenced my practice, but I was finding that rather than writing 2,000 words a day I was down to 500.  I sat at my desk, even when the words would not come and rarely went out with my camera.

This week I took a different approach.  I did other things, I had a day off from my PhD and I went out with my camera with no expectations to achieve.  I realised that even though the words had come easy in the early days that this is not a given.  In part that was the reason I continued to sit at my desk, fearing that if I didn’t get the words down while they were flowing that I would lose momentum.  I knew I was pushing myself too far, but I felt compelled to keep writing.

What have I learnt?  I need to mix things up.  Everyday does not need to be the same.  I generally find writing easy in the mornings but had stopped taking an early morning walk to clear the mind and get some exercise. I had not been taking my camera out early in the morning either.  But when I did so, after a break, I found the results were more interesting and inspired.  I was seeing the location and my subject anew.  I have also learned that practice does not necessarily mean taking photographs and I need to work on my galleries, selecting images and using the Emotigram.

I have now written 42,500 words and I also have a clear structure for the contemporary practice chapter.  I am still doing some research as I go along, mainly because I did most of the groundwork in Year 1 and that is some time ago.  I need to revisit blogs and my notes as I write.  What is clear in my mind is that it is so important to start getting the words down.  They might not be the right words, or in the right order but they are a starting point from which I can enhance, enrich, and revise as I work towards later drafts.

So, I feel good, I am taking each day as it comes and varying my work pattern depending on what I would like to do and what I would enjoy doing.  My writing may be a little slower, but it is considered and reasonably well written.  Onwards and upwards . . .

Alison Price

Alison Price

My name is Alison Price and for the past ten years I have travelled the world photographing wildlife, including Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Botswana, the Canadian Arctic, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Skip to content