keeping it short – 84

PhD Life

This one is going to be short, partially because I want to write with brevity and partly because I really do not feel like writing at the moment.

This is a disciplined writer. I would definitely be doing anything else right now. I have just returned from boxing, and my morning coffee is wearing off.

On Friday night, after work, the rest of the lab group and I went for a ‘couple’ of drinks in the senior common room. As all nights that start with a couple of drinks do, this one went well beyond. It has been so long since I have had a hangover that it has manifest itself in a completely different way in which I am used to.

Usually, after a good session, I will get home and have a 50/50 chance of being sick. Then I can’t sleep very well, and all that remains is me feeling very tired until the next night. This time things were different; there was no sick feeling, but an altogether new experience. My brain felt as if it was two or three times too big for my skull. I had never had this sensation before, so it was quite the experience. On reflection, I would choose this over being sick.

As soon as the throbbing head went away, it was business as usual: no sleep. It has been so long since I have had a hangover that the way in which they manifest themselves has changed. I wonder what will happen next time?

As for the day-to-day, this week, I spent a lot of time writing. By writing, I actually mean, trying to write. I am trying to get my first thesis chapter in place. In approximately five hours, I produced a measly 150 words which were of low quality. Just one of those days? I would be the first to admit I don’t have the writers mindset, but what is much easier to admit is that I certainly do not have the academic writers mindset.

I will get through this PhD, I won’t be the worst writer ever to get one, but I now know that I need to go down the more industrial/engineering route as that is where my passions are. It just so happens that they also pay a lot more.

Do you think that it is possible to be a certain kind of writer? Are writers generally good at all things writing, or do people tend to specialise?

Anyway, while I leave you mulling over that thought, I am going to do some coding!

Published by Louis

Spend less than you earn, Invest the surplus, avoid debt. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

17 thoughts on “keeping it short – 84

  1. Writers definitely specialize. For example, journalists and thesis writers must study a lot more than a fiction writer would. Fiction writers still study things, of course, but not as strenuously as a research writer would. Research writers also sometimes have to perform their own experiments.
    Fiction writers need to be fluent in interpersonal relationships and a little bit of psychology! So it’s definitely not that fiction writers are “worse” than research writers, it’s just a different skill set.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I am writing a piece of historical fiction. I can attest to the fact there is a ton of research in fiction. Pitty the foolish historical fiction writer who gets a detail wrong. The readers will call you out.

      I have written technical papers as well, so, I know both sides. Each presents difficulties, but I would argue that as a fiction writer, the research is more extensive. The facts I am after are not necessarily common knowledge, or readily available.

      Liked by 6 people

  2. If the dividing line is fiction or technical/research writing, then yes there are people who specialize. We all specialize to what we think we do well. But limiting someone to being only able to do one or other may not be realistic. Given the opportunity, most writers can write just about anything. It is just that we critique ourselves as doing some things better than others. Long live the engineer that can write a poem!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’d have to agree, most specialize, but I’ve had to write academically, I’ve had to teach, write and check all types of writing as my students go into all different subjects and take different kinds of exams. However, I prefer to write in a more abstract way, creatively and it greatly depends on the day and or mood….!!!

    Hangovers only get worse and worse for me… but again, that depends on the type of alcoholic beverage I’m consuming!! 😆

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Can’t really say. I Have one other friend that writes and she writes fan fiction and poetry while I write fiction of many genres and poetry.
    When we critique each other’s work, she says I capture feeling and imagery well, but I’m needing improvement in tense and whatever category commas and semicolons belong to (grammar? Lol)
    Where as her work has flawless punctuation (that’s the word!) but sometimes I don’t really getting any emotion from her words. It’s more of a vague conveyance of feeling.
    I think “writing” is simply whatever essence of words spoke to us the most; and we emulate it.

    – T. R. G.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think that writing, like anything else, gets better with practice. That’s the boring bit. Academic writing has a certain boring style, which – having been an academic – I used to find very restrictive. This pretence that there isn’t really an author behind it all. Non-academic writing is quite the opposite. It is about developing you own personal voice, even when talking about difficult science concepts. But alas, if you want to find writing easier, keep writing!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Rites of passage … expensive, and stupid. We all all do it/did it. When young I knew it all, the world could explode at any moment so I lived (!) for the moment and Devil take the hindmost*.

    In retrospect—

    —not good. Actually … bloody stupid. But that’s youth for you: “Damn the torpedoes! Full ahead all engines!” which is very well and good for the oaf on the bridge but makes the guys down below under clipped hatches get a bit twitchy. I’d offer some advice but I don’t think you’d take it … so in several decades to come, when you are me and I am not and some other young pup is writing much as you are now—you’d be an unwise person if you advise him as I am now.

    You’d do better to let your pals and buddies and things do ALL the drinking and doping and stuff, just break out occasionally—and that in moderation. (And if they don’t relate now, remember that in years to come they’ll be calling you ‘Sir’ …)

    * The bugger did, too …

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Indeed, there are writers who specialize and may only seem to be able to write within a certain field. I see writing as walking and running. If you can walk and you’re not prohibited in some way, you can probably run. Let’s say you can run. Now, let’s say that you want to run a marathon. You don’t just jump into running a marathon without desire, practice, and training.
    Writing requires desire, practice, and training. Oh yeah, skill and talent. I think there’s an innate quality within a person that allows them to communicate in written form. There will be a voice that comes out in your writing. Whether it’s academic or not.
    Writing to earn a living is a different animal. I am an excellent technical writer but have yet to secure a technical writer position. My years of technical writing experience appear to mean nothing without that degree.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think every writer has “one of those days” every now and then. Just hang in there and keep writing and get your ideas down on paper before they get away from you and vanish into the aether! You can always go back and edit your work later. And here is the mother in me saying: make sure that you are drinking plenty of water every day – I would recommend at least 64 fl. oz. water per day – especially if you are consuming alcohol on a regular basis. This will help with both the “hungover” feeling and keep your brain alert and functioning so that you can write.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yeah, I think writers aren’t all good at every aspect of writing. If they were, they’d be pretty darn close to perfect in the realm of writing, I haven’t met someone like that yet but who knows 🙂 I love the tone of your blog posts by the way, they’re easy to read and feel quite personal in an engaging manner.


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