Monday, May 18, 2009


Well, so much for posting twice a week. On the other hand, the point of that challenge was to force me to write, and I have spent most of the last two weeks actually writing thesis stuff. I did think about posting, but I knew that was just as much procrastination as reading blogs, trying to finish that cardigan I am knitting, baking cakes and cleaning up my bibtex file. (The last may not seem such a waste of time, except that I noticed I was finding page numbers for references I used in my Masters thesis, which have no relevance now...)

I started making a serious attempt at writing my main background chapter 2 weeks ago. After 2 hours I changed my IM status from writing to staring at the screen because it seemed a more accurate description. I'm not really sure what else I can do to make the writing go faster. I have a fairly detailed outline, I know the concepts and motivations I want people to understand from this background, I have a lot of the references and their major points already summarised from earlier write-ups, I have specific points waiting to be turned into sentences, I'm not that much of a perfectionist since I know I always revise multiple times. Why does it still take 3 hours to write one paragraph? I started celebrating if I had more words by lunchtime than when I started in the morning (I seem to go backwards a lot). After 2 weeks, I have about 9 pages of reasonable text with two more sections to go, plus some examples to add to a previous section. The final chapter will be between 15 and 20 pages, depending on how many diagrams I end up with. This is a very frustrating process.

Friday, May 1, 2009


This month's Scientiae theme is A Snapshot and I have been thinking for the last week what I wanted to write on this theme. What would I want to look back to in years ahead? I played with a few ideas, but then I realised I had already written it a few weeks back (triggered by the start of the sunny weather).
I know that I am in the right place for me. The excitement, the mental stimulation of discussing research with others, the ever changing nature of my day-to-day activities, the flexibility of the life style, the challenges I can find - these things all make it worth the negatives.
This is the talisman idea that I carry with me, which surfaces naturally when I am struggling and which I hope as the years go on will continue to be true.