Here we go…

I’ve been telling myself for a while now that I should update my blog. I’ve never been a consistent blogger. Over the years I’ve had a couple. Back in the early days I had a Geocities page where I shared my Photoshop style digital artwork. That was during my undergraduate years as a contemporary arts student, a time where digital camera’s were expensive and took 3 & 1/2 inch floppy disks and an ability to use Photoshop was unique and impressive. Many years later I had a Blogger page where I posted my poetry. That blog was successful in reuniting me with a long lost friend which was nice. Before switching to WordPress I was using Tumblr for my Belinda Writes blog. I still love Tumblr but more so for personal purposes and not as a go-to homepage. WordPress is at times frustrating to use but ultimately reliable.

As is mentioned in numerous locations on this blog, I am a PhD candidate (student, to put it less formally). I’m two and a half years into my higher research degree, which means next year at some point in time I will be submitting my thesis (novel and exegesis in my case) and will eventually be able to insist on being called doctor (and I will insist). This week I completed my mid-candidature milestone, meaning I’ve passed all the formal requirements, leaving only submission remaining. I’m on the home stretch… and it’s terrifying!

In my mind, starting tomorrow, I have to strap myself to my desk and write. No more talking about writing the thesis, its time to actually do it. I’ve set the goal of having a completed draft of the thesis (all 100,000 words of it) by the end of October. That equates to a weekly writing goal of approximately 3,000 to 4,000 words. It’s very do-able. Goals are wonderful things, and words count goals are noble in intention… but often that’s all they are, nice ideas that we never really follow through with.

Drawing from the study skills seminars I attended in my teenage years, goals are more achievable when written down. Done! I’ve included this word count goal in an official report and I’m posting it now. Yep, I’ve done both of those things before, without grand success. Oh well, it’s worth another shot. I mentioned before my inconsistency in blogging and my limited success achieving word count goals, this is true, however I do write regularly. For the past five years I’ve kept a journal. This journal stretches over several notebooks and I still have some ripped out pages from journals I had prior to this set. They’re all stored in a plastic crate and I today I unpacked that crate, put them in order and read assorted paragraphs. I keep the crate on a high shelf and noticed the weight of this box as I pulled it down, it was quite heavy. I weighted the crate… 6 kgs. Considering the ups and downs recorded in the pages of these notebooks it’s interesting to think of the weight of those emotions, and to put a number on it!

These journals may prove useful to me over the next eight months as I work on my novel. The novel I’m writing is not a memoir but will draw on some of my experiences, including the ones documented in the aforementioned volumes. So while I don’t blog regularly there are recordings of my life, thoughts and feelings in existence. The beauty in these journals is that they have not be written with an audience in mind. Any writing may find and audience, and in keeping a journal I’m always aware that someone may read it, with or without my permission. In reading the small selections that I did today I saw vast changes in the tone and composition of the writing. Some books are written in neat, small print, others are scrawled and messy, the ink colours change and some entries are more hopeful than others. Interestingly the loose pages, torn from an older journal are perhaps the darkest in nature. Reading these was oddly reassuring. I’d questioned my memory of this time and wondered if I’d created a narrative that was more dramatic than the experience had been. It was clearly documented in these excerpts that I was not falsifying my feelings. I also found a letter in the crate. It was a letter that I had written to myself, clearly during a moment of happiness. While the letter was slightly corny, it also highlighted, as many of my entries did, an optimism and perseverance that, at times, I am able to draw upon.

With this optimism and willingness to persevere in mind I’ll wrap up this post with the intention to return here shortly, with an update on my writing progress.

Until then, be kind to yourself.



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