Let’s give this a try

So here’s the thing.  I’ve wanted to undertake a PhD since I was small.  Like 7 years old small.  I remember asking my father what a PhD was, and being enthralled, or as enthralled as a primary school kid can be, with the idea of creating new knowledge.  It sounded so monumental.

Here I am over 30 years later finally with my chance to undertake, and hopefully, achieve that dream.

But it is hard. I wont say harder than anticipated, but maybe more overwhelming.  I suffer crises of confidence on a weekly (or is that daily?) basis.  The magnitude of the task at hand, which at the moment is just writing my literature review and maybe the first three chapters, is so daunting.

Presenters from the University research school suggest that we need to read 300-400 pieces.  I have 350 in my database and I’m not yet halfway through my searching.

But finding them isn’t really the issue. I’m excellent and finding materials.  Reading them, well I like to delay but I slowly plug my way through. Where I am struggling is the writing.  Writing summaries of the articles, writing critical analysis, and, crucially, writing actual elements of the lit review.

“But it’s March 20” I think. Many people I’ve met haven’t really finalised their idea.

My concept, question or proposal was finalised in 2011. I have never deviated in what I want to write on (leadership development in the creative industries.)  But putting boundaries around that and actually reviewing all the associated literature?  *lies down for a minute*

I’m worried I’m developing a psychological barrier against writing anything.  So I told one of the research librarians this morning who suggested creating this blog as an outlet.  It’s a good suggestion, as I’m incredibly comfortable with blog writing.

This site, however, cannot just be a place where I moan about my terror surrounding the academic process.  It must be a place where I start exploring concepts and my ideas about the theories I’m reading.  Good sections or ideas may then be copies into Scrivener for actual consideration.

My target? 500-750 words five days a week.  That goes within the 6+ hours per day (30 hours a week) of work I need to be doing.  30 doesn’t sound like a lot, given we work 7.5 hours a day generally, but I don’t include lunch in this, or the coffee you drink under the auspices of ‘work meetings.’  Workplace studies show that most people really only work 3-4 hour hours in a business day. 6 hours is a long time to read and right intensely. And getting it done in 5 days is proving harder than I expected. To date this week I have done 16.5 hours. And that’s been a good week. I know I need to make some adjustments to my routine to free up more time to work, without sacrificing the exercise and the cooking that is my outlet to retain some form of sanity.

Tomorrow I am going to outline my current thoughts on the question “what is leadership?” and try to sort through the categories I have created and the concepts in my mind (map.)  This is a key thing that I hope will break down the writing into manageable chunks, allowing me to carve off sections and start to put ideas ‘on paper.’



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