I'm almost (almost!) finished my PhD in Creative Writing, and, let me tell you, it has not been easy.
It's required the writing of a full-length novel and a 60,000 word dissertation, and the day I hand it in my sigh of relief will be huge!
Writing any longer piece of writing, whether it's fiction or nonfiction, for business or for study, can sometimes feel like trying to navigate a sea full of ice 🚢
Sometimes you find yourself going down a certain path only to become trapped with no way out, like the ill-fated HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, two of the British Navy’s warships that became trapped in the ice in 1845 in an attempt to find the Northwest Passage, an open water route close to the North Pole.
The secret to navigating ice, apparently, is to keep moving very slowly and try to work with the ice instead of against it. In the course of doing my PhD I’ve found myself going down many pathways only to become firmly stuck in place. I’ve had to remind myself that this is an inevitable part of the process, that getting stuck, however horrible, is often the only way to have one of those lightbulb moments that helps you move forward---or sideways or back the way you came--and that, sometimes, the act of writing, even if you’re not exactly sure where you’re heading, is all about just doing it and seeing where it takes you. Even if that is into the ice.
A Lightbulb moment: a moment when you suddenly understand or realise something 💡
(The Erebus and Terror are on my mind because I’ve recently watched a couple of episodes of The Terror, a series with a supernatural take on their ill-fated journey. Terrifying but gripping stuff!)