Word cluster

A blog about getting into a writing habit

My name is Francisca Concha-Ramírez and I am a PhD at Leiden Observatory. I do computational astrophysics and I also write a lot, but I want to write better.
This is my personal blog to document my writing up and downs. For my work/CV website, click here.

To learn why I started this blog, and see my writing plan and rules, check out this post.



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12 November 2018

Not quite an habit yet

[ working  life  habits  planning  phd-life  ]

by Francisca Concha-Ramírez

I haven’t been to constant with this blog lately, but I have been constant with writing, which is what matters, right? :D

I feel like the biggest reason why I haven’t been writing here is because, even though my writing has been consistent since my last update, my writing habit has not been.

What I mean with this is that I’ve been writing a lot, and in general doing at least 1 writing block almost every day, but they have been… messy. Since I was away from my office for all of September and the first days of October, when I returned I had a lot to catch up with. I was working remotely when away, but there is some stuff that just works better when I actually am sitting at my desktop computer and not connected to it through not-always-trustworthy internet connections.

So I returned and I started getting a lot into actual technical work, developing scripts, profiling them, and such. When I first arrived I though I would not have time to keep up my writing. But it turns out that the code I’m working with right now takes a while to run; depending on the inital conditions I use it can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 32 hours (but most tests I’ve ran fall within the less than 1h mark). So I have actually been doing my writing in between code runs. I just felt bad wasting all that time. So when I say I’ve been filling up about one 1-hour writing block I day, I mean that I’ve done it in chunks of around 20 minutes.

This is… not bad, but also not great. I have kept writing, which is good. But I’ve noticed that around the 20 minute mark is when I usually started getting more focused and the writing starts flowing better, and then I have to stop. Of course I could keep going, but my priority right now is developing this script so as soon as it’s finished I want to know how it went and fix bugs.

So yeah, the habit part of the thing has not been doing well, but the writing has. Also: we revived our PhD writing group! It sounds kind of pompous, but it’s just 4 PhD students. We meet every two weeks and set accountability goals related to writing. I wrote about it a bit in my original post. There I also mentioned that we used to have a 9am writing block on Thursdays, which has also revived, but I’ve missed all of them. I my defense I have to say it was not for not waking up on time (I am actually arriving to the office before 9am every day, which is CRAZY for me), but because I’ve had a lot of conflicting meetings and appointments. Hopefully I’ll start joining next week.

So, no block-planning this time. I’m not even sure on which week of the challenge I’m on! And I’m not counting weeks for any particular reason, so it doesn’t matter. The nature of my work right now will keep my writing schedule messy until at least the end of the year, I think – but hey, at least I haven’t stopped writing!

Except on my writing blog, of course :P

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