500 Words

Roughly 2 minutes to read

I’m terrible at writing at length.

I have a PhD, and as part of this I, like many others before me, had to write up my work in a thesis, and it was absolute hell.

The act of just sitting and writing is something that I’ve found extremely difficult for as long as I can remember.
In school when essays were handed out as homework every time without fail I would think “Not this time. Not again. I’m going to be better. Start early, and make a good job of this”, but every single time it ended up with me staring at a blank page for hours on end without any tangible idea for how to make it any less blank.

Late on, I would discover that I have some (or all?) of the traits of ADHD, but back in the ‘bad old days’ ™ we didn’t have these things, and I certainly hadn’t been diagnosed with anything, so I bumbled on through until the latter stages of high school wondering why I found it so extremely difficult to write.

Still, even armed with a diagnosis I had little in the way of coping strategies to deal with this long into my higher education, and consequently I spent hours (probably literally days) in the university library just throwing time at the thesis; bludgeoning it and my wayward brain into submission to get it done.

Ultimately it got one, and here I am, doctorate in-hand, and with what seems to be more and more of a mild phobia-like reaction to writing longer pieces of work - somewhat of a problem when you work in academia and are required to write at length on complex topics periodically, either to teach or to submit work to conferences and journals.

So here I am, writing on here instead in an attempt to reset my brain and let it know that yes, you can indeed write at length, and it isn’t anything to be afraid of, and that no papers are going to jump out at you from around the corner or under the bed.

The plan - such that it is - is to attempt to write about 1 page of standard A4 on some topic or other semi-regularly, for as long as I can manage.

I’m definitely going to fail to do this, but that’s not the point - the point is to try.

So. The rules:

  1. Write 500 words per article (minimum)
  2. Words only count on a ‘blog’ style post
  3. Words only count if they’re published to this website.
  4. Formatting marks (as this is written in markdown) and titles, captions, quotes, etc. don’t count.
  5. Don’t be stressed about missing 500 words or a deadline, just publish.

Lets see how well this works, especially with No. 5…

Total words: 465