Hi Everyone.


I spent three years writing a doctoral dissertation and used to love the hours I spent fussing over commas and colons. I could while away a whole afternoon formatting a single footnote and then be satisfied that this was all I had done for the day.

I worked in an enormous university library somewhere in the south east of England – it was the size of a decent shopping centre  – and had a small perch/nest (room) overlooking a large reading room. With the exception of the occasional undergraduate who was happier talking than actually reading, the sense of silence was awe-inspiring.

I treated my doctorate like a job and wrote between 9 and 12 everyday Monday to Friday. Then I would stop for lunch.

After lunch I would return to my perch and not write.

I would do anything else I felt was necessary dissertation-wise, but I avoided writing anything new.

Once I left the library for the day it was as if my doctorate didn’t exist. I was lucky to be able to forget all about it and not lay awake at night worrying whether I would finish it or not.

The next morning I would be on the bus at 8am and spend the hour it took to get to my perch reading two newspapers.

I didn’t always feel like writing but I did always feel like sitting in my perch.

I’m no longer sitting in that library but I do still eat my lunch at 12 Monday to Friday.

I hope you have a productive day whatever you are doing.


P.S. How do you work?


8 thoughts on “The Digital Divide: The Fun of Formatting

  1. It’s always interesting to learn how other people work. I do like the sound of your perch. Writers need a good perch. My technique involves hardly any writing, then lots of writing all in one go. I can spend weeks – months – just thinking the book through in my head, scribbling little notes here and there, doodling hats. This goes on for quite some time. Then, when I have the whole book in my head, I write relentlessly for about a week or so until it is done. All in one go. Mostly, when people say ‘how’s the new book coming along?’ I say ‘yeah, pretty good, thanks’ and I haven’t actually written a word (except for in my head).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Lucy, I’m fascinated by your approach. Do you find it exhilarating? I think I’d be too terrified to leave it until I had everything ready to go. My neurosis requires me to peck away every day; a sentence, a paragraph, or, if I’m really flying, a page.
      Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s quite a stressful way of doing things, admittedly, but it just works for me, it doesn’t feel comfortable doing it any other way. There is a huge adrenaline rush at the end of each working day and the feeling of accomplishment when it’s done is immense. I don’t get much food or sleep, though, and am halfway to insanity by then end.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. That is a tough question! It depends on the project. I like to do free writes for my blog and for poetry. For book projects I make an outline and flesh it out. I like to write a piece and then take some time away from the project so that I can edit it with fresh eyes.

        Liked by 1 person

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