Saturday 15 June 2013

Editing, head space and PhDs

Happy Days!
It was two years ago today that I took my PhD viva. Time has flown, the world has changed and so have I. The little lad in the picture is now a toddler and loving life. My daughter is still smiling and I am very aware of how important family is. I am also aware of how fragile life is.

Things have been happening over the last few months that have made me think, made me reassess and consider what actually makes me happy. One thing I do know is that I still love my writing, escaping into a world of words. I love my research and need to develop it further. However, my research profile is not as strong as it should be that is in part due to work commitments that consume every waking moment leaving no head space to let ideas develop. That is one thing that has to change.
I have lots of ideas bubbling away both creative and critical. I just need to focus and create that head space and I am going to. Watch this space.

During the past week I was talking to NS via skype and we were discussing that innate inability to self edit your own work at times. We both acknowledge that when critiquing other people's work you can see the mistakes both structural and copy but when it comes to your own there is a sense that the shutters come down. This can mean there are some cringe worthy moments when an editor/critique partner points out an issue  in your work that you know you have picked other people up on. Yet you still can't see it in your own work. We were also discussing the importance of working with people and organisations that you trust. I am lucky I can offer that sort of support to my students at the University of Winchester but also to others through  the Golden Egg Academy. It is a very satisfying process watching something grow and evolve. I just get irritated when I can't see my own mistakes.

In fact I am fascinated as to why we can't see the mistakes so I asked gorgeous daughter, who knows a bit about brains, and she came back with the obvious - your brain sees what it thinks it has written and not necessarily what is actually on the page. This is all well and good but how do you make it see it afresh and anew. I am aware there are all the ideas about leaving it in your bottom drawer for three months and then going back to it but it can still be an issue. I know about reading it backwards so you just see the words and not the sentences. Then of course the ever important reading out loud. All of which are valid but I still find the occasional mistakes gets through - so frustrating. I want to explore how the brain works more with this.

How do you approach your editing?

I also wanted to let you in on my plan. It is my intention to use this blog more to develop my ideas as I focus on my research. It is something I have seen a friend do and it works well so thought I would give it a go too. It is time to take control and move on. Watch this space.

However, this is the second post I have written today but the first one will never see the light of day. It ended up just too personal for me and my family but still needed to be something that was written down. This is for all my family, you will know why I have chosen this particular version. Love you.


  1. glad to have provided food for thought and another great blog post!

    1. We will have to skype more often so I can have more inspiration. Glad you liked it

  2. The brain is a tricksy thng :/

  3. I'm sorry for the difficulties you've had Vanessa. I started to write a comment explaining how I try to get my RLF students self-editing but it all got too long and out of hand, so I've written a blog post in response!

    1. I am fascinated as to why. Your post is brilliant and really useful.Thank you Anne