Why am I still writing?

I am still writing my thesis. Still. Yes, still. I am still writing my thesis. Oh my goodness, I am still writing my thesis!

When I began my PhD more than three years ago, I was confident that I would be one of those irritating students who submitted their work spot on time. And then, I hit a bump or two in the road. One of those bumps was more of a mountain than a bump, which didn’t help. But that was fine; I would survive!

After I recovered from that pretty miserable first year (a year that led me to reconsider if a PhD was for me), I got back on my PhD Pony and began to ride again.

I was picking up speed and making up for some of the time I’d lost in the first year’s Pity Party. The way I saw it was that I could still submit within three months of my three years. Yeah, that would be good. I could be happy with that.

And then, I hit a bump or two in the road. I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed. And then I got sick. And then there were more social stresses. And then I broke my ankle. And then, and then, and then… And let’s not forget about the second bout of extreme self-doubt that led me to reconsider if a PhD was for me…

[Enter more excuses, rationalisations, and justifications here… Then enter a few more for good measure…]

But it was all fine. I was starting to feel confident again and, even though I would definitely miss my three-year [impossible] goal, I was going to submit within three months after the three years. Well, maybe four months. Five? Six…? OK, seven. Seven months. Definitely no more than seven months. Three years and seven months. And that’s it. Really. That. Is. It.

So here I am, three and a half years into my PhD and I am still writing.

Because I can’t do it. The work has been so very overwhelming and I have struggled to find a way through my massive mountain of data. And it doesn’t help that my own physical health has been less-than-brilliant which has added to my stress, creating a crazy cycle of, well, crazy. (You can read about my May madness on my personal blog.)

However, I have been working some new approaches to my writing, and to my entire work-life balance system. And I think I am finally starting to gain some traction. Some of those changes mean that I am spending less time in front of a computer but, happily, I am a more productive when I am working on a computer.

Over the next week or two, I will be busily (and manically!) working on completing my findings chapters which has been a massive, ugly, furry beast of a task. But if my new approach to work (and data analysis) continues to go smoothly, I should be able to succeed in this goal.

I am hoping (desperately!) that I will not face as many challenges when I start putting together the rest of my thesis. Because let’s be honest, my supervisors (as wonderful as they are) are probably getting really fed up with my ongoing delays!

And that, in a rambling nutshell, is why I am still writing. (But hopefully not for long!)

5 thoughts on “Why am I still writing?

  1. You are amazing! You are following your dream, that says alot.
    Then of course there is this one fact, you are pure awesome!

  2. Hello! Gongratulations for your research.. and this blog! I have been reading it for several months. I am a PhD student too.. . I’m getting prepare for a blog about my PhD. I have read the terms about copyright on your blog.. so..Could I use the same way -srtucture- that you put the information on your blog (about, research etc..)??
    Yours sincerely!
    Sofia Vlacou
    PhD Canidate. Ionian University. Greece.

    • Hi, Sofia. I am so very sorry for the delay in reply. I have just been so manic that I’ve not gotten around to approving comments!

      You are more than welcome to use the same structure that I am using. If you’re using chunks of my text, however, I would appreciate you linking to me for credit. But otherwise… help yourself!

      Also, I am working to migrate this blog (www.justaphd.com) to a new URL (same content, just a different look). The new site is http://www.FrancesRyanPhD.com. It will be my main PhD site moving forward.

      Let me know when your blog is up and running – I’d love to check it out!

      All my best,

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