The PhD voice

Writing a book as a PhD student

Hi all! Today it’s International Book Day and I want to write something very short. I want to talk a bit about the book I am writing: my PhD thesis!

For those who are not in academia, the main step for the completion of a PhD is the submission of a written dissertation. This takes a massive effort to develop results to and also in writing a clear document that does not have a massive number of pages. From what I see, the average time for thesis dissertation writing is three months exclusively dedicated to the final document, while less intensive writing occurs throughout the research period. I have now about 25 pages written for my introduction and I can’t wait to write more for my book!

In Portugal we have a saying that a human, to feel complete, must do three things in life: plant a tree, write a book, and have a child. I never planted a tree, I don’t know yet if I’ll ever be a mother, but I already wrote a book. My MSc thesis is sort of a short book about anesthesia and lipid rafts (some special structures on the membranes of eukaryotic cells) with 80 pages and my PhD thesis with be way larger. However, me, as a multipotentialite, always full of ideas, have another project.

I want to write my own book!

I never seriously thought about writing a book because I am not talented for fictional writing. I found out about this since a very young age. However, I wanted to be a journalist in middle school and I think I’d be a good one since I like non-fictional writing and reporting facts. You can see that on the blog, which I deeply care about! I also like writing songs (I used to write a lot of lyrics as a teen) and even thought about writing some songs about my life in Boston and recording them for my own pleasure. But speaking about the real book, I had this idea in Princeton that I should write a book about my PhD experience, since I feel there is lack of books about such an intense experience. I would like to know if you’d be interested and I would release a short e-book here with some tips on travel and PhD as a free gift for subscribers. What do you think? Let me know what would you like to hear about! 🙂

Cátia

2 thoughts on “Writing a book as a PhD student

  1. Olà dear,
    Always happy to read your stories in Cambridge … from my experience, the drive for writing should come from deep inside you more than people’s interest, mainly for 2 reasons: drive and ignorance.
    The drive (yours) is necessary to push through the necessary resistance and obtain your goal (the book). The ignorance is the state in which someone who has not read a book lies until that event: what I mean with that is that people don’t really know if they want/not want you to write, just like before a great new product is introduced. The risk, thus, by asking, is to get some friends to say “yay!” and some others to try and talk you out of it.
    My suggestion? Don’t make it a book “about” something, just tell your story, as such you will set it free to arrive to all those needing to read it (I actually think I just gave myself the same suggestion as I’m writing you!)
    (Ps, I wanna read it!)

  2. I think it’s a great idea 🙂
    I have no intention of doing a PhD, but it’s a process I’ve always found fascinating. And if you couple that with travels, it should be even more fascinating.

    Go for it 🙂
    It’d be a great experience.

    PS: I love that Portuguese saying.

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