Hello, and a very happy new year to you all. Thanks to an impacted wisdom tooth, my celebrations stretched to a cup of tea and a boxset of Dinnerladies. I do hope your night was more festive! Anyway, I’m using this first post of 2018 to outline my plans for the next twelve months, and also to reflect on 2017.
The Analogue Researcher
If you’re a previous visitor to this blog (welcome back), you might have noticed a few changes. Originally, it was called ‘The Digital Researcher’ and focused on geeky stuff. Before joining academia, my professional experience had been in IT and web development and there was strong demand for me to share those skills with fellow researchers. It seemed that everyone wanted to know all about social media and developing their digital strategy. Last year, however, I noticed a significant shift: people started asking me how they could avoid social media and actually get some work done. Nowadays, I’m mostly asked to run events that improve focus and boost productivity.
Many people are starting to question the limits of technology and are much more mindful of its potentially harmful effects. Most of us need to write and publish more, yet we’re surrounded by devices that are hell-bent on distracting us. I’m not abandoning the digital theme of my blog altogether, but my approach will be more balanced with analogue solutions – such as pens, paper, and other relics from the twentieth century. I’ll be talking a lot more about processes with the aim of helping you develop one to achieve your goals.
I spent a large chunk of 2017 experimenting on myself and talking to other writers and researchers. Those experiences will inform my future content.
This Pope is on Fire
When I finished my PhD in 2014, I was pinging publishing proposals all over the place, and to little effect. Needless to say, once I’d built up a very full work schedule, everything started happening. Last year I was under contract to write three chapters for edited collections and a monograph based on my thesis. Yes, quite. I managed to get it all done (with an awful lot of crisps) and learned heaps about the writing process along the way.
I also ran six Thesis Boot Camps at three different universities, and facilitated a Book Sprint at the University of Sussex – a remarkable event in which a team of seven researchers planned, wrote, edited, and published a book in just four days. Essentially, I’ve been trapping people in rooms and getting them to write. Inspiration through incarceration. Observing and discussing everyone else’s frustrations, solutions, and triumphs has been hugely instructive in improving my own writing process.
I’m running some more Thesis Boot Camps this year, and also organising my own one-day and weekend writing retreats for researchers at any stage. I’m still finalising the details, but please sign up for my newsletter if you’d like more details. And I’ll be writing a couple of books, too: How to Finish Your PhD, and How to Publish Your PhD.
The Digital Researcher
As I said, I’m still geeky. This month I’m updating my Zotero ebook to cover the latest version of the software and will blog about the changes. You can also expect to see some more posts on Evernote and Scrivener very soon. Oh, and I’ve found a few exciting new tools to share with you as well. There’s lots for us to explore in 2018.
That’s it for now. Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and productive year.