a metaphor for thesis completion?

I’ve recently had a few conversations about thesis writing and writing in general. I find writing hard, mainly because I am “burrowing” kind of writer, and as this post says, that is against almost everything one is taught about writing. One must learn to write in bits and pieces and multitask. Its multitasking when writing that is hard for me. I need to focus on one piece for at least a day before I can write but with all the other tasks at hand, I find that hard to do and hence it takes longer to write.


I read a tweet not too long ago from Margaret Atwood. She announced that she was just about to ‘go down the writing burrow’ for a while.

Her metaphor of the writing burrow really struck me. The ‘burrow’ clearly signals that you will be out of communication for a bit. You’re going to be cut off, living in your own world, tunneling deep into ideas, hibernating until the writing is done.

The notion of the writing burrow also rings true to me. It suits those times when I have to be completely obsessed with producing a particular piece of text. But it flies in the face of all that writing advice which says that all you have to do is to write regularly every day and the big pile of words will just appear. You do have to write regularly, yes, but sometimes you have to do more – you…

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Eastern partners or chaotic neighbors? The contested geopolitics and geoeconomics of integrating Ukraine and Moldova

This brilliant analytic piece co-authored by UW student Austin Crane about the situation in Ukraine today, can be accessed at the Antipodefoundation.org website.

The authors write, ‘Hackneyed notions of Ukraine’s geographic position between worlds east and west continue to anchor media coverage, allowing for the present debacle to be repeatedly framed as a “civilizational choice” for Ukraine. Putin’s geostrategic vision entails transforming former-Soviet space from a “periphery of Europe and Asia” into an “independent centre of global development”. His recent State of the Nation address imagines a world made of “large geopolitical units” in which Ukraine and Russia share a common civilization. Like the EU’s civilizational spatial imaginary, Putin envisions a “project for the preservation of the identity of peoples, of historical Eurasian space in the new century and a new world”. Much like Brussels’ plans for the ENP, Moscow’s “absolute priority” is the “technical integration of the neighbours”.

A guide to choosing journals for academic publication

Choosing which journal to aim for is hard. Here is a (length) guide to journal selection!

Nick Hopwood

The key is the match between your paper and the journal

Choosing a journal for your paper is a complex and nuanced process. Don’t expect to be able to ask anyone else off the cuff and get a sensible answer. Only people who know what you want to say and what you want to achieve in saying it can provide guidance, and even then it’s up to you to judge. In writing this I hope to make this process more transparent, and to help you be as informed as possible about your decisions. If you disagree, or can add more things to consider, or more measures of status please leave a response at the bottom!

Chicken and egg

Which comes first the paper or the choice of journal? Neither. Both. In my view you can’t write a good paper without a sense of the journal you are writing for. How…

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The Toddler’s Guide to Doing a PhD

The Thesis Whisperer

This post was written by Jonathan Downie, a PhD student, conference interpreter, public speaker and translator based in Edinburgh, Scotland. He co-edits LifeinLINCS the unofficial blog of the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt University. He is married with two children. His newest blog Rock Your Talk aims to help people keep on improving in their public speaking.

Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 4.33.13 PMThe last time I posted, I mentioned in passing that I am the proud dad of a toddler (and, by the time this goes out, a new baby too!). As any parent will tell you, you learn as much from your children as they learn from you.

It just so happens that in the past few months my son has taught me a lot about doing a PhD.

He is exploring the world and learning to walk. I just wish I had learned it all sooner! Here is my shortlist…

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good academic writing – it’s about revision not editing

A scholar’s guide to getting published in English. Critical choices and practical strategies

via good academic writing – it’s about revision not editing.