The lonely thesis writer

By James Hayton,
February 28, 2019
James Hayton is a former physicist, PhD coach and author of "PhD: An uncommon guide"
Since 2010, he's coached hundreds of individual PhD students and now offers
group support and online courses

Yesterday, I talked about how writing happens in the spaces between typing and the importance of taking time to just think. This isn't easy, because it means being alone with your thoughts, but it's necessary.

But this doesn't mean you have to work in total isolation all the time. It's equally important to talk to other people to explain and discuss your work. The questions they ask, the comments they make are a form of informal feedback that can help you refine the way you communicate.

For many, especially those doing remote PhDs, the only time they describe their work is in writing. This makes the job so much harder because the only feedback they get is at the end of a complete draft.

Talking to people about your work helps enormously, because it's always easier to write about something if you've described it before. But talking to others about their work, or about what's happening in the field is just as important again.

Being in contact, being immersed in the conversations in your field; this is how you get to know what's really happening.

So you need both. You need time alone to think and to write, but you also need contact and conversation. Don't do it all alone.

See also:

Talk to people

Who you work with is just as important as what you do

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