Category Archives: PhD

W is for… Why I Write (Orwell) (Book) #AtoZChallenge

W is for… Why I Write (Orwell) (Book)


This is a short little book containing four essays written by George Orwell. The one I was most interested in, is the 10 page title essay – Why I Write.

As a side note I didn’t realise he was so young when he died, only 47. A quick Google told me that he had tuberculosis. Even more surprising was that he wrote 1984 when he was ill publishing it just a year before his death.

Some choice snippets from this essay:

He talks about making up his own story – writing his life descriptively in his head (p.3)

Subject matter is determined by age the writer lives in (p.4)

Before starting writing one acquires an emotional attitude from which you can’t escape (p.4)

To escape early influences might kill the ‘impulse to write’ (p.4)

Other than for money, four main reasons to write – shifts in balance or focus on these over time:
1. Sheer egoism e.g. to be remembered
2. Aesthetic enthusiasms e.g. Perception of beauty ‘in words and their right arrangement’
3. Historical impulse e.g. Record for posterity
4. Political purpose e.g. ‘Desire to push the world in a certain direction’ (p.4-5)

‘every book is a failure’ (p.10)

‘Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand’ (p.10)

He concludes by saying that his political purpose is his driving force.

Do you recognise elements of the four main reasons to write in you? Which do you think is most important at this time?

What do you think he meant by ‘every book is a failure’ – this isn’t expanded on – is it self confidence or something else?

Do you voice-over your life, e.g. ‘Kirsty walks into the pub, spies the pool tables and fishes the 50p out of purse at the request of a friend.’? (I don’t think I do normally)

Thanks to Colin Smith for awarding me the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award.

This award comes with some rules and I will obey some and break others. Below is the award logo and also my completion of the sentence ‘A great reader is…’
The bit I’m going to break is listing 14 other people to give this award to – Sorry Colin hope you don’t mind. I’m not one for chain mails etc either. If I like what the mail says I forward it but where possible take out the send this to x no of people bit. I will however say a huge thank you to Colin in particular who has commented lots on my blog during this challenge and thank you too to each and everyone of you who have commented this month and before, especially if you’ve come back more than once – that has been very appreciated. In short I would give this to everyone who has taken time to read what I’ve written whether you’ve commented or not.

A great reader is one who reads their own story as well as the one that is written.


V is for… Victory #AtoZChallenge

V is for… Victory

Today’s post was going to be called ‘Value the Personal’ but I think I’ve already made the point that I think it is important to value personal experience, opinion, biases etc etc in research so instead I’m going to share a short personal PhD victory.

Today I had supervision, my overarching research question finally looks good – my sub-questions need tweaking because I’ve made them too closed and they need to be open! There are too many of them so I get to cut some out for the time being. I consider this a victory. I feel comfortable with what I have down.

Wish me this as an ongoing feeling.

 Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/

U is for… Ubiquitous #AtoZChallenge

U is for… Ubiquitous

I decided I liked the sound of this word and wondered what it meant and if I could fit it in to my PhD blog topics. Turns out I really could.

According to Oxford Dictionaries online it means:

‘present, appearing, or found everywhere’

I felt that writing about writing was ubiquitous amongst writers – and when I see something so often I start to wonder why.

A number of the books I have reviewed during this challenge are on this very topic (and there are more to come).

This is one of the things that has influenced the direction of my PhD – I want to understand why.

If you are a writer and have written about why you write, the need to write etc. do please link to your blog post below.

What word do you like the sound of but don’t remember the meaning of – I challenge you to use it in a sentence below?

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