AUT Writers’ Retreat Day 1


This year, I’ve been very fortunate to be able given a space in the Writers Retreat at Long Bay.

Here are some reflections of Day 1:

You’re not alone.
Ever wonder why you’re struggling so much with your journey and whether it’s really just you? Well, I’ve talked to a few people and they are as slow as I am. They all talked about being carried away with work and life and no time to study. Sounds familiar?

Some people even encounter with terrible things such as their supervisor passed away… who would have thought.

Get tips and tricks

  • Use a time-keeping app (Focus Keeper)
  • Free write. Don’t get it right, get it written.
  • Write as if you’re telling a friend
  • Plan your writing, in the discipline of time, as well as in the discipline of length
  • Know yourself: maximize your productivity during the hours that work for you. In other hours, do something else
  • Trick yourself: do easy tasks, write just about anything…

Write for the ones who read it
The examiners are all who matter. Of course, you’ll want everyone to read your thesis; however, the examiners are the first to pass.

Cultivate that habit to write
This is everybody’s problem. So… trick yourself! If you have to, con yourself into writing using different tips and tricks.

Personally, I think self-discipline is key!

Get rid of the attractions
Emails, phones, messages… turn them off.
I’ve gone extra lengths to block myself out of social media, online shopping sites, and even the work website. Until… I had to actually be able to view Youtube videos for writing and I couldn’t. And I do actually need to use the work website for a work email and couldn’t as well.

You will also underestimate the amount of writing you have to do
I’ve experienced this myself and I’ve heard from people now. Writing time doesn’t mean you will sit down and start writing. It involves getting into the momentum through reading, thinking, conducting a few rituals. Not surprisingly, to some people checking social media and making sure they’ve got on top of everything is part of the ritual. For me, it’s about actually putting my head into thinking what I want to say through my writing.

Remind to self: writing time DOES include editing and proof-reading, multiple times. And time is not always on our side.

Sometimes you have to trust the journey
One of the goals that I set for myself is finishing the Methodology chapter (currently at 7k over 10k word counts). However, I was so struggling with identifying exactly what my methodology is.

Had a chat with Jennie over dinner and told her about my struggles. She suggested me completing the analyses, and trust that the methodology will rise up from the work. She said: sometimes you will have to trust the process.

I remember vividly Helen had said this to me, on multiple occasions, but it hasn’t really sunk until now that I’m actually getting into it.

What I’ve done today:

  • Consolidated the word counts, currently at 25k over 35k – 40k mark
  • Read more articles and publications on methodology. I think now that I’ve got a hang of how the methodology can come together. As I was reading, I have also added key points to my drafts.
  • Have made a decision that I’ll ditch 2 analyses that I had picked. So I had a look around and have decided on what will be the replacements.
  • Got myself into some work stuff and wasn’t pleased about the lost time…

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AUT Writers’ Retreat Day 1

how does it feels when someone asks you about your baby plan?


So you’re married, the next question is always: when are you having your baby?

And you reply: I will start working on it when (a) …. (b)…. and (c)….. You think that gives them a good indication of what you need to achieve first, before having a baby.

And they continue: You know your parents are getting old, you are getting old, you must have a baby to have a balanced life, you have to make your parents happy, yaddah yaddah yaddah….

What makes you feel now?

I know my parents are getting old and they want to have grandchildren.
I know I’m getting old and my biological clock is ticking.
I know this is something I have to do.

And I feel I’m letting everyone down, more and more by each day it passes by.

I feel like a cruel person that I don’t want to do it yet as I’m selfish and I want to do what I want to do for myself. And I feel like a failure when I’ve been so behind my thesis and I can’t get concentrating. I feel tired of this vicious cycle that I tell myself that I will try a little bit every day but I got distracted by something else. I have disappointed people. And I’m scared that I’m not ready enough, financially and mentally. I’m scared that things aren’t going the way it is and there’s no turning back. I’m scared to talk to the in-laws as I’m 100% sure the question will come up again. No matter how excited I am about the upcoming holiday, I’m scared to go home and face all the questions.

It has never dawned on me how tremendous this pressure could grow to be placed on a woman when other people expect her to have a baby (just like that).

In this very moment, it couldn’t get any more lonely and deflated.

how does it feels when someone asks you about your baby plan?