Weekly reflection: Details, details, details

I feel I have not achieved much since the last post. Working still on the data anaylsis and write-up of my last two studies, I struggle to motivate myself. The overall structure and story of the chapter now stands and what remains is to fill in the details, write out the discussion which so far only exists in key points and pull it all together.

I find that hard to achieve because it is an iterative process of going through the text I have written again and again, finding the flaws, finding what is not yet clear, expressing the thoughts that are only half formed in my head at this stage.

After quickly making progress when writing the outline of the text this to-and-fro seems discouraging and draining. I think I will forward the text as it is soon and turn to other things such as the planning of the studies with which I want to address the question that starts to appeat ever clearer in my head. I have planned to start writing an ethics application to force myself to go into the details of what I want to do, whom I want to inclove and what I think the results of the workshops will be.

Turning to other tasks and going back to the text with feedback and new ideas will help me to overcome this lack of motivation and see the text progressing.

Weekly reflection: The struggle for words

At the end of last week I had a supervisory meeting in which we discussed the timeplan until the next milestone – and it sounded all so easy. Too easy I should have guessed. For most of this month I will focus on the analysis and write-up of the last study I undertook and while this works definitively more smoothly than with my first study it still feels a lot like one step forward, two steps back. Even though I gathered the data and I am familiar with it, it is still complex to find the overarching topics in there, not to get lost in the details, not only to look for the things you were expected to find.

The writing is both way and goal of the process, which makes it hard at times to focus on it. A lot of writing will be thrown away because it is not good in itself, but it helped to paved to way for something that is. I still find that painful and this is what most of this week has been about, so I am not too happy with the result.

While I am struggling for the right words to describe what I see in the data and the right words to explain why I think they are the right words and important, I also take down notes about the way this analysis makes me think about the whole project I am undertaking and how it has influenced my aims and goal. Going on with my project will be a bit like this data analysis. comparing the small with the large, trying not to get lost in the details, trying to see the work with new eyes. I expect it to be slightly painful even though it sounds all so easy in theory.

I struggle to find the find the words, but I accept that they help me to build something. In all other projects before I had to show ‘the thing’ I made and the words I wrote were more an afterthought. In my mind this is still how this project will be going and while I still expect to make at some point of the PhD I start to accept that this is the ‘thing’ I build. From words, not yarn. Unfortunate still and non-interactive at the moment. It helps me to put more emphasis into my writing, make it clearer and build it more like a thing. I still feel guilty for not doing more and I still have to learn how to deal with this. But not this week, not next week, when I will be building with words.