About this blog

I need to get better at writing, and maybe you can help? Or perhaps you can learn from my triumphs and mistakes!

I am a PhD student in Food and Nutritional Sciences; I have gotten to this stage by largely ignoring writing as a skill. I felt as if my skills in science (maths, physics, etc.) were the most important aspect to improve, so I spent most of my time working on science-related skills. As a consequence my writing skills are very low relative to my other skills, hence this blog.

My idea for this blog is to journal my progress through a Ph.D., as it is probably one of the most interesting things I will ever do. But mostly, it is to practice writing and eventually get good at it.

As I am writing this I have already written several months worth of posts; originally, I was not planning on posting them, but I think that there is no downside to me publishing these posts, as the worst thing that can happen is that I get bad feedback. In this instance, it still helps me improve my writing, so it is win-win as far as I can tell.

As I have previously mentioned, I am several months ahead of this initial post and only plan to release one a week. Because of this, my writing has already improved massively, and I am embarrassed to release some of the earlier posts. However, I believe that the journey is much more important than the end so I will release all my posts un-edited.

I intend to write about more than just my thoughts on being a PhD student such as nutrition, finance, books I’m reading and general thoughts on life. So, if you would like to help me out and provide some feedback, I would greatly appreciate it.

I will remain anonymous for now.

Go here for an example of my first attempt at a blog post and here for the most recent.

If you’re still here maybe we should connect on Twitter!

195 thoughts on “About this blog

  1. Good for you wanting to learn writing skills. This is often overlooked in a more electronic age, when folks expect their computer to ‘fix’ it for them. Likely by now you know that computers can only work with what they are given. In speaking, if what we say isn’t clear, we get feedback from others and can immediately clarify. But with writing, if what you say is confusing or misleading, you simply have confused readers – or worse, readers thinking you are saying something different than you are. Science, math, and even art still need to be well communicated for them to be effective. Someone had to write everything you read, and if that’s where you learned your science or math, you need it to be accurate and clear for you to understand and use the information.

    Bravo to your efforts!

    Liked by 9 people

    1. I share your thoughts, completely, having focused on science & math in my studies. All it takes is observation and application to gain this skill, ironically, the two core disciplines required in science and math. Go back to a book you loved reading and study how it was written. Write how you like to read. This same principle applies to building out SEO of your website. Write what people are searching for and not what you are trying to sell.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hello ljphd,
    Just to say I don’t like the word ” blog” either. It sounds ugly to me, like a combination of the words ” blah” and ” log”.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Thanks for liking my Heliphone blog. As a foreign blogger in English it’s nice to get a positive reaction. I call myself ‘an author’ because I self-published five books in different areas, but my blog audience is still rather thin, so I wonder how you noticed me! There must be a way to get more readers like you. Till next time, johnschwartzauthor.com

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Very commendable and also very brave. It couldn’t have been easy to come back to writing after spending so much time doing something so fundamentally different. I wish you all the best of skill 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I recently met someone who is in your same position, studying for a doctorate. She is getting serious about her writing. I will tell her about you. You can share your experiences. Keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Annette! Please do. Studying for a doctorate is a hard thing to do. Our daughter got her PhD so I know all about that. Writing a dissertation and defending it successfully is very challenging. But I learned quickly that writing fiction or blogs is altogether a different kettle of fish than dissertations or reports as I had to do a lot in my life. Thanks for the reaction and all my best! http://johnschwartzauthor.com/blog

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I applaud your efforts to improve! It’s more difficult as we age, but you will be taken more seriously by your peers if you know how to present yourself and your thoughts intelligently. Many people today don’t care, and it shows. Sad.


  7. As a retired English prof, I certainly feel writing skills are important–and for everyone! You are wise to practice, for that’s the way to better writing and you can have some fun along the way writing about whatever strikes your fancy!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. In common with so many others, I am thoroughly enjoying reading your entertaining and interesting Blog. Admire the way in which you complement your writing with vivid examples to which I can relate.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I just read this and believe (if you still have the same attitude about your earliest posts) you’re missing a great opportunity to improve your writing (which is already quite good, in my opinion). That backlog of posts? EDIT them. Seriously. There is no better way to improve your writing than working over and improving something you wrote before you knew what you have learned since you wrote it.

    At the risk of going to the dark side, here’s a link to a post I put up recently which has a discussion of editing, translating, and Isaac Babel’s brilliant, incredibly condensed, evocation of exactly what goes on when we edit. As I went to grab the link I saw you’ve read it (and thought it “awesome” according to the infallible WordPress bots), but, if you have 40 seconds some time, go to the last five short paragraphs and read Babel’s wonderful take on improving one’s writing:


    I also hate the word “blog” which is why I use the more accurate “blahg”.


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow! I love your candor! I just want to say if that is ok, that writing is (at least for me) not a destination. In my perspective, it is not a goal but an experience. Actually, for me YOU, MY FRIEND, HAVE LONG ARRIVED!😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dear Writer of Anonymity,
    It is easy to associate words based upon their similarities to other words as in the case of “blah”, “blob” and “blog”. Just as it is between castrate and castigate, where one is physically painful and the other mentally painful. With that, I wish you a great day. The Not So Anonymous Rural Iowegian

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi there,
    Thank you for taking the time to read and like my blog bethulove! I really appreciate it.
    I agree with you, the best way to improve something is to simply DO it! So good on you for “just following your heart and doing it”!
    Looking forward to read you soon! Cheers, Bethula

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve been following along for a while, now, and apologize for only getting in to comment today. I’ve found myself with a bit of extra time and I’m using all of it for reading and commenting on blogs to which I subscribe! I noticed another English professor up there in the comments congratulate you, and I wanted to do the same. I teach writing across the curriculum and do my best to help all of my students recognize how important writing is to virtually every possible career, even (perhaps especially!) STEM. Bravo to you, and I hope you’re getting a great deal out of this experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting! What is your most effective tool for convincing students to take learning how to write seriously? I am not sure what would have convinced me when I was younger.


      1. In certain classes, I’m able to design the coursework so that each student is reading and writing within their own discipline (and then, in discussion sessions, they get to “teach” their classmates about it). It helps make the connection “real” for them, and gives them practice understanding how/where writing happens in their fields, and what it takes to be taken seriously as a writer in _____ (engineering, health science, psychology, etc.) I once had a Math Education student, of all people, tell me it was his favorite class of the year because even in his education courses, he was never “taught” how to read and write lesson plans; he felt they just expected him to be able to do it.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. A tip you have probably heard a 1,000 times already: It’s a marathon and not a sprint. Yet as much as possible, do a little something everyday towards your goals and objectives, except on scheduled days off.


  14. I was so excited when the link brought me here! Food and nutritional science… one of my passions. I found you because you liked my recent post (thank you so much for your visit!). I don’t know if you have wandered in and around my blog, but if so you will have seen that one of my children is tube fed… and when he was three I did the unthinkable, went against medical advice and fed him FOOD! Can you just believe it?? Anyway, that is when my passion started. I hoped to study dietetics a couple of years ago, but parenting constraints have made that impossible. I look forward to reading you!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thanks for the “like.” Although I did write a lot in graduate work, the focus was for me learning my craft in psychology, and getting to know a whole lot about people:) Whatever your major is, enjoy it while you can, because when you graduate everyone expects you to know your stuff:) Wishing you success!


  16. Congratulations! Blogging is honestly one of the best ways to improve your writing! Practicing to write was my goal too when starting my blog! In fact, it is something that I often do with my own blog too! Can’t wait ti check out your posts and give you some feed back!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Hi Louis,

    Great work on the blog! We have similar themes going on, as I’m just about to start work on my PhD application.
    I work in London so if you’re about next week it would be awesome to trade tips on blogging (I feel like such an amateur), writing (I feel more comfortable with that), and PhD times. Let me know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Claire, I’m not sure that I would be much use. You are already better than me at writing which is the hardest part. It’s interesting to see that you are in the self-development phase as I think I have just come out of that phase after many years.


  18. We can be taught how to write.anyone can learn. Talent is not something we learn. Talent is or it isn’t. I know a artist. That can paint perfect but can not paint without a picture sitting before her. She can’t just paint a picture from her own ideas..if writing sturrs inside you,,write it down.use your talents.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. An automatic ‘like’ doodah? (I was going to ‘like’ and found I’d already done so but with no memory of visiting before …)

    The essence of good writing is brevity (I ignore it myself)(but as an oldster with nothing to lose, I’m allowed to). Brevity, and reliability—but doing Phd you know that anyway. Good luck~!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I am very interested in following your PhD journey, having gone through it myself almost 40 years ago (mine in Mechanical Engineering). I wish it I could have blogged back then 9or had internet!) it would have helped with my writing skills.
    Best of luck, rich

    Liked by 1 person

  21. With little more than a college education, I’ve found keeping things simple works for all things including writing (like ‘Argus’, however, I too am an ‘oldster’ and allowed to ramble). If I can offer one small thought it would be to write as you would speak. Even if your diction doesn’t score 100% – you’ll get full marks for authenticity.

    Liked by 2 people

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