I don’t write about doing my PhD very often (at all) on this blog, though it makes it’s way into Facebook posts quite often.
I’m in my third and final year now and writing up my research. I kept saying to people that I’d turn into a hermit and mainly sit in a room typing. This isn’t quite the case. There has been lots of sitting in my room typing. At least 60 000 words worth since August (which sounds brilliant but I’m only supposed to submit 50 000 and I’m only about half way through the sections I need. ALOT of pruning is ahead). But there is also lots of performing and gigs and poetry and comedy writing. Partly because my PhD is practice-based and this stuff is part of it (including studying the two Radio 4 comedy shows I’m about to record. Meta). Partly because I’m bad at saying no. Not to everything. But to things that sound like they might inform my thoughts about class, gender, northern English regional identity and resistance in stand-up.
However, I’m also aware this is a time to stop saying the big research Yes. I can’t research everything and know everything.
But something else is happening. My brain is very awake. To attempt up get it to think about other things than the PhD I have to divert it into equally stimulating processes. Slightly obsessional ones. I’ve been lurking on “web sleuth” sites on two murder cases. Intriguing communities of people solving media murders. I only lurk but it engages my brain. “Who murdered so and so” can temporarily replace “Why is rationalism not always sufficient to explain human actions?” (See above murders).
Also, my research calls for praxis. A word that was new to me at the beginning. The mixture of practice and theory. Doing stuff informed by critical reflection. My thesis quotes “calls to this” and “manifestos for the other”. It says don’t just sit in a room and think -do. But don’t just do-sit in a room and think first. Preferably with others.
So I’m trying to balance the Yesses and the Nos. There are also practical considerations. I still want people to offer me work from the autumn when I’m done and 17k isn’t quite enough for a household to live on.
I’m having about three weeks now in which I won’t often be sitting at my desk for hours at a time. I’ll feel guilty. But I’m living my thesis all the time. Embodying it. It’s like the TARDIS when Suranne Jones became it and vice versa. What are you doing? If anyone asks I’m praxis-ing.