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.


  1. Break your chapters down into smaller, more manageable chunks and make a list of the chunks you want to have written by the end of the day. Give yourself tangible daily writing goals and you'll be surprised how much you actually achieve.

  2. Good advice PiT! Let's see how well it sticks 2 months from now ...

  3. My outline is basically at the paragraph level, and that's what I have been checking off. My problem seems to be turning paragraph theme and dot points into real sentences. Admittedly I haven't made concrete daily goals. I might try that today.

  4. It took me forever to write my background chapter. FOREVER.

    Good luck :).