As readers of this blog will know, I write a lot.  Indeed, over 100 blogs since starting my PhD and often up to seven a week, depending on my research and practice activities.  Sometimes short pieces, but often longer more academic discourses, that have required in-depth research and extended writing periods.  My blogs are getting longer, rather too long some would say (between 1000 and 1500 words on occasion and some worthy of splitting into two parts) but I think maybe this will help me in stepping up to contemplate starting the extended and in-depth writing my thesis will require.  I am under no illusion, that much of what I write now will not make the final version, but after sharing with my supervisor that I intended to start writing over the Easter break, I decided to make a start.

I planned to produce a 5,000-word Introduction to include the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Research Motivation
  • Research Aim
  • Research Objectives
  • Importance and Originality of the Research
  • Methodological Framework
  • Methods, Models and Practice
  • Ethical Issues
  • Chapter Route Map

After a limited break from my studies over Easter, having attended a class on Good Friday, I began.  It was 9.26am on Tuesday 6 April – a date I will remember rather like the day I graduated, 4 July 1981 – memorable for being Independence Day.  I decided to write a short personal piece that would provide context to my photographic journey and background to starting a PhD later in life.  I had planned to use the Pomodoro technique where you write for traditionally 25 minutes, then have a five-minute break, then follow the same pattern for the designated period of writing.  Maybe not the best technique, but once I started, I didn’t stop for a good three hours and found that by lunchtime I had over 1000 words, without referring to any documents or references.  I had previously decided that I would try to produce 2000 words on the first day of drafting and this was easily achieved (2057 words to be precise).  It had been a good day, but the more difficult writing was yet to come.

Day 2 started well too, but the words were not coming as freely as Day 1.  I started developing the ideas in my original PhD proposal that I had produced for my application to the University of Dundee.  I had good feedback on the document at the time and so decided it was strong enough at this stage to give me the basic structure to my Introduction.  I started to look at the word count every time I produced a paragraph, and the progress became achingly slow.  After lunch I started to build up momentum again and began to crack the Methodological Framework and Methods, Models and Practice sections when an electrician working in the house asked if he could turn off the electricity for half an hour.  That break was sufficient to put paid to the day’s writing.  I did return to the document, but I fell short of the days target – reaching 3738 words on Day 2.  Having said that I did now have something written in each section and a draft document that was beginning to take shape.

I need to read it through with a clear head.  I decided not to read it after the first two days as I feel broadly happy with what I have written.  I do not want to give it a critical reading and start editing until I have added some more words in each section on Day 3 of my writing schedule.  I know that I find it all too easy to distract myself by combining drafting with editing when the words dry up.

So, I am contemplating Day 3 of my writing tomorrow producing the very first draft, a break from it over the weekend, and then more writing and editing next week with a view to Version 2 being produced by 16 April.

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