It’s been another week of writing, this time about early twentieth-century psychologists’ ideas about only children. I’ve managed to draft the main bit, but now I have fiddly bits to add in - psychologists who were less vocal on the subject but said similar things, information about the psychologists, some sort of introduction - and I am starting to get a little fed up now. Not ‘argh I’ve hit the wall and can’t do any more’ fed up but ‘meh, suppose I’d better get this done, not like I have anything else to do anyway’ fed up.
This week I’ve been writing. A lot. I’ve produced nearly 2,000 words more than I expected to in the amount of time I’ve had, and a topic (the Mass Observation Family Survey) I thought would take up 4,000 words maximum has just hit exactly 8,000 (pre-editing, of course, and with a couple of bits I know I need to add). It’s been like Lisa Simpson and the tap shoes, but with academic writing. I’m doing it because my next board paper is due on 9th June, the actual board being on the 19th.
This week, on Monday 12th May, I took part in the annual Mass Observation Day, when people are called upon to record everything they did during the day. I did it last year, but, being a Sunday, I didn’t really have much to report - I only left the house to go to Tesco! This year’s was a lot more involved, so I’m going to write about my experience of being a Mass Observer for the day.
It’s another one of those weeks where I have nothing ‘big’ to write about, but a couple of things I did have sparked off other thoughts I can set out a bit here.
To sum up this week, I’ve read a load more positive/balanced articles about only children, transcribed an interview with one nasty only child and one nice one, discussed my next board with my supervisor which will hopefully be in mid-June (have you ever tried to find a date and time where three academics are free? It’s painful) and been shopping because in a couple of weeks I have an informal interview for a little job - nothing substantive to write about for a blog, in other words. So, as I’m feeling reflective, I thought I’d write about how PhD has measured up to my expectations so far. Hoping it might be of use to anyone who’s applied for/thinking of applying for a PhD and wants to know more about it.
This is a post about my most recent research - which has given me something a bit different to think about when it comes to how I’m going to structure and talk about different people’s opinions of only children - but also how I got to finding out about it, pretty much by chance.
‘Is blogging academic?’ (or ‘is blogging scholarship?’, which I regard as amounting to the same question) is a question that’s popped up on my Twitter timeline a lot recently, as a panel at the Organization of American Historians grappled with it this week. There are, naturally, a few blog posts out there already on the topic, but I thought that, with some reference to them, I’d like to add to the debate. It’s seems like a good time to write such a post, seeing as I’ve been blogging regularly for four months now, and my last blog post got an amazingly high number of views (this will probably get considerably fewer, but never mind).
This week I went up to the University of Northumbria, in Newcastle, for the annual Social History Society conference. It was a long way to go, but I heard some really interesting talks and got a lot out of it.
Applications to be a GTA (Graduate Teaching Assistant, not Grand Theft Auto) are coming up, and I’ve had to throw an academic CV together and think about my application letter. For a long time, having felt I was irredeemably hopeless at public speaking and too socially awkward to function in normal society, I saw teaching as a ‘necessary evil’ I would have to put up with if I wanted to research and write, but a chance opportunity has made me think that actually, I might be alright at teaching and enjoy it after all.