PhD

Writing retreat

I live in Glasgow now, but I was born and raised in Leeds in Yorkshire. It’s where my mum and sister still live and my mum still has the family home I grew up in. It’s always a bit of a treat to go home and I’m really thankful that she’s kept it. Normally though, when I go home, it’s for a holiday.

My most recent return home, whilst it was certainly very restful and still felt like a treat, was not a holiday. I was in full thesis writing mode and I used it as an opportunity to get as much writing done (in peace) as I possibly could. I’ve been calling it my “writing retreat” and fortunately my mum doesn’t seem to mind.

 

I had a week. During the train journey down I edited one chapter and discovered there was a lot of work to do but by the end of the second day in Leeds I was happy enough with it to send it to my supervisor. That was kind of a triumph – I hadn’t been able to properly look at that chapter since January. In the following days I continued to make progress and when I get on the train back to Glasgow today I’ll probably get my laptop out again and do more.

So it worked, it gave me the boost I needed and I hope I’ll be able to keep it up. A change of scene is definitely part of what helped so much but a lack of distractions was important too. It sounds awful, but not having to do cooking or chores around the flat meant that once I was “in the zone” very little could happen to knock me out of it.

 

Also, there were incentives. I got loads done on Thursday when my mum was at work because I knew if I made enough progress we could head into the town centre together on Friday (we went to the museum). On Friday afternoon when we got back I did loads more work because that would mean I could hang out with my sister at the weekend, and so on. There’s stuff to look forward to at Glasgow, of course, but it’s usually with people I get more opportunities to see, so the incentive isn’t so strong. Is that bad? It seemed to do the trick anyway.

There’s still a huge chunk of work to do but it’s always nice to make progress.

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