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Writing your PhD can be joyful

I’m willing to wager that no matter how much you love writing, there are days where you hate anything to do with words and just want to throw your laptop against the wall.

Even as someone who made a living from writing and have written stories since I was 5, I had long, long periods throughout my PhD where the words felt heavy, horrible and I hated every moment of it. 

It’s completely normal to feel that way. And it’s important we recognise that those moments will rear their ugly heads sometimes.

But it’s also equally important to remember that the stuckness we feel will pass and it doesn’t have to be the only, defining experience of writing our research.

There is so much – too much – out there that reinforces the message that writing has to be synonymous with struggle, suffering, blocks and difficulty. Even the most writerly among us start would be forgiven for starting to believe this rhetoric.

We might go into our writing each day thinking, ‘This is going to be hard’ and so we literally begin writing with dread, fear and anxiety. 

BUT, I’m here with a teeny tiny reminder today that…

writing can also be joyful

It can be motivated, hopeful, energising, and fulfilling. 

Writing your research can be
…a way to communicate something you feel passionately about.
… a way of working through something that’s piquing your interest and making you feel excited.
… a means of offering something of service to the world.
… a way to expand your own creativity and feel bloody good about your creative capacities.

The story tell you tell yourself about what writing means to you can create a big shift for how you feel as you sit down to write each day. 

Even if you can’t quite bring yourself to say that you absolutely love it,  and even if being totally joyful about it does not feel true for you right now, how (else) can you reframe the way you’re approaching your writing today to bring in a little more ease, relief and space? 

Then, eventually, how can you adjust and expand that story for yourself to make it joyful, exciting, fulfilling, and all that other good stuff?

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