Having recently cleared my plate of most other work commitments, I can now say for the first time, accurately, that I’m a full time student. I was only ever working one or two days a week, but those extra days are already making a difference.

When thinking about how I’d like to use this time, I found myself remembering Reuben’s app a week project. As a learning exercise for mobile development, he set himself the goal of making one app a week for 6 weeks. It seemed to work really well for him, so I’m going to borrow it!

App Essay a week fortnight

I’m not making apps (yet), so I’m structuring this around discreet strands of research in my PhD. One of my goals for this year was to write more, and I feel like an essay is an independent bite-sized piece of work that I won’t feel pressured in to including in my final thesis. Which, by the way, I have no idea how to structure at the moment. So I’m hoping this exercise will provide me with a nice collection of written material to draw from once I start putting the actual thesis together.

Reasons? I’ll give you reasons!

This is why I think this will work for me:

  • I work well to deadlines. My supervisors have been great a pushing me to write papers for conferences, etc, and I’ve found that setting a topic and writing on it is a good way to feel productive. Without a set topic and a deadline looming I’ve tended to either procrastinate or go off on too many unrelated tangents.
  • I have too many tangents. At the moment I have about 5 different areas of research that I’ve been reading about. Most of them overlap somehow, and to start structuring my thoughts on these in to chapters seems too hard at this stage. Again, I feel that focusing on these smaller, discreet pieces will allow me to move forward a lot faster. There’s something about having “Thesis.doc” open that scares me.

Rules? I have those too!

So i’m going to set myself my boundaries to stick to:

  1. Essays will be started on a Monday, and must be completed by the following Friday
  2. They should be a minimum of 2000 words and contain completely original writing. I can’t copy and paste things from other writing I’ve already done.
  3. They should essentially be a review of the literature with a particular take that is relevant to my research.
  4. I will post the essay topic on the monday with some recommended reading for anyone that is interested.
  5. I may or may not publish the final essay on this blog, depending on how I feel about it. I should post at least an introductory and concluding paragraph from the writing.
  6. So that’s it. I’m already a day behind this fortnight’s essay, so time to start planning it!


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