Hi, i see you finish a Phd on philosophy recently, lots of congratulations for doing it! I just wanna ask you for some advices if it's ok. I'm actually on a phd on philosphy but i'm feel very lost sometimes. I'm on my second yerar (of 3) and i dedicated my first year to read a lot, very very lots of things, but now i must write but i can't do it as good and fast as i would like to do it. (1)
I feel its very diferent the work of reading and the productivity you feel you’re doing when you do that, than the work of only try to write and going very slow day after day and feeling you dont do nothing…I suppouse its normal but i dont know how to feel about it some times…. If you can tell how was your experience in this diferents steps of the thesis, some of your impressions or advices of how pass throw all of it, i really really appreciate it. I hope dont distrub with all of this. (2)
I send all my best whises with your post-Phd time and i hope you can continuate with the lines of investigation that you like. And sorry my english. (3)
First of all, never apologise for the potential bad use of a language that is not your own! We are all learning here and trying to do our best :)
I understand the feeling of disorientation you may feel when pursuing something like a PhD (I have felt it myself), and I would like to start saying that it is COMPLETELY NORMAL. But, let me be honest, even if I knew that, sometimes I couldn’t help thinking that my thesis (and, oh, also my life!) was going nowhere. You just have to accept these thoughts and go through them.
Actually writing down your dissertation is certainly very different from reading and gathering bibliography. I usually enjoy the latter more. Besides, each of us has a different way of processing and working on them. In my particular case, I pursued a 4-and-a-half-year PhD, and left the writing for the last year. This doesn’t mean that I dedicated 3 years to “just” read: I took notes (lots of them), made summaries, wrote down every little idea I thought I could use, and made some preliminary outlines of the main topics I was working on. Then, I made a complete outline of each chapter, which contained the linked ideas and also citations and authors I wanted to include. That was the basis for the actual writing. That’s because I need to visualize the whole in order to work on the parts. But that’s my way of working, and might not be useful for everyone. I know some other people that went to the writing straight on the first year, and worked on the chapters during the process of reading the material.
As for the feeling of “doing nothing”, the only piece of advice I feel myself qualified to give is to just continue doing it, even if you feel you don’t achieve what you think you should. Some days you’ll write a couple of sentences, some other days you will be revising and correcting the previous work, and sometimes you will feel so powerful as to write 10 pages non-stop (which will inevitably need deep correcting). You just have to keep pushing. And, as a friend once told me, you think there’s a long way left, but one day you’re already there.
Writing a dissertation is a real fight with and against yourself: fears, insecurities, knowledge and abilities all roaring at the same time. You have to live with the noise, learn to ignore it, but also appreciate it. And never forget that you have already achieved A LOT, even if you don’t believe it, or don’t want to believe it.
I wish you the best of luck, and hope my words somehow help you!