eek, it’s nearly 2018

Patter has had a busy year, as a few basic stats will show. Patter started in July 2011. And this, dear reader, is the 705th post. Patter has published two posts a week for most of 2017, with a few more during Tate Summer School and one less during this seasonal extra-mini-break. As each post is about a thousand words and I write most of the posts, I guestimate that’s about 700,000 words in six and a half years. More than a book a year in blog posts.

My most popular post ever is on aims and objectives. The post that got the most views in one day was this year’s how an examiner reads a thesis, followed by avoiding the laundry list literature review. Other popular posts include how old are the sources, and writing the introduction to a journal article. As Patter’s purpose is to reveal some of the hidden rules and conventions of academic writing, then these stats are helpful “positive reinforcement”.

But by far the most rewarding feedback comes from those unexpected emails, encounters at conferences and copies of thesis introductions where I meet the people who have found some of what I’ve written helpful. Thankyou for bringing inanimate wordpress stats to life.

Patter is not actually my real job. It’s a labour of, well, weekends. During the week I’m your average jobbing senior (and elderly) prof who researches, teaches and publishes. 2017 has been a bumper year for my own publishing but also for a few other people. I’ve commissioned two book proposals for a book series I co-edit, with another couple on the way, and put in a proposal for a new co-edited book series.( Hope we hear soon, Helen.)

But this is all now in the past. As I edit this post, I am writing and scheduling blog posts for 2018, another edited book is in press and two more are in preparation. The next single-authored book is half-written but sadly won’t make its beginning of year deadline, again. A co-written methods text must be written this year and my co-authors and I already have writing dates in our diaries. Yay. Love those writing retreats. Those two half-written research bids must be finalised relatively soon. There are more doctors coming up too, with the next viva in sight and three more dissertations in various stages of draftiness. All good.

I said to someone the other day that a (permanently employed) academic life feels a bit analogous to being air traffic control. There’s always someone or something taking off, lots of stuff to keep going, and various publications and people coming in to land. (Whispers: I really could retire now, but there is still so much more fun to be had.)

But on a personal note, 2017 was the year that one of my beloved dogs died and a new granddaughter arrived. The remaining old dog is bereft, a very diminished presence in our house, and may not see the end of 2018. The granddaughter however is sassy, already walking and far too far away for my liking. So, while 2018 looks likely to be as busy as usual I’m going to take those holidays I never usually take and spend more time in Australia with family. This may be the year that Patter drops back to one post a week, something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but just quite can’t do.

But in the meantime, while I fret about blog frequency and content, thankyou for reading patter. And my very best wishes to you for your own writing and researching in the coming year. May our 2018 be one for writing with academic vigour, verve and style. Pleasure and productivity, here we come.

About pat thomson

Pat Thomson is Professor of Education in the School of Education, The University of Nottingham, UK
This entry was posted in 2017 in review, academic writing, blogging, publications and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to eek, it’s nearly 2018

  1. Thanks to you – and a few other great teachers – I’m starting to get the hang of this doctoral writing thing. Looking forward to more of your fantastic posts in 2018. They really have helped me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jane S says:

    I like your coinage of ‘draftiness,’ Pat. Exactly so, at this time of the UK year, shivering in a draughty study and labouring over a third or 4th rewrite.
    Thank you for all your extremely helpful posts. Not being in your academic field, I tend to take one or two points away from each, but they’ve all been grist to the mill ~ enlightening, and every bit as useful re. general doctoral writing as for specialised research.

    Faraway granddaughters make for rethinking or re-prioritising quite a lot of things.
    While we have contact technologies, iPhones, Facetime or Skype don’t quite cut it, do they? And if a new addition to the family is Down Under, there’s the added juggling of suitable hours. On the other hand, time it right and you can avoid the Gt. British Winter. (Scottish temps tonight? *Very* cold. Friday in Canberra? A possible 29C.)
    Anyway, all best for 2018, and here’s to ‘air traffic control’ keeping plan(e)s in the air.
    Happy landings!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 23thingsaboutdigitalknowledgepd says:

    Thanks Pat. A number of us here in inland NSW share your posts. I do pro bono work as a thesis companion, and share them with the regional HDR stduents I support, as well as with those of us working on our post-thesis research writing..

    I also enjoy your wakelets – thank you – wonderful way to curate isn’t it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kim Browne says:

    With sincere thanks for patter – which often answers my queries and helps to keep me motivated. Best wishes for the new year, Regards
    – Kim.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gillian says:

    Thank you for all your guidance and encouragement. Honestly, I’m not sorry you’ll post less-frequently, then I’ll have time to look forward to posts and be able to put to practice your advice! Many thanks and best wishes for your continued fortune!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A.K. Koli says:

    Best wishes for new year, your blog posts are very helpful for improving research skills, especially writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations on the birth of your granddaughter and thank you for your very informative and valuable posts throughout the years. Although I understand the need to cut back on the number of posts you write a week, I sincerely hope you procrastinate on that decision! Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you Pat for your blog and books! I have read several of your books books on my path to my dissertation (done in April) and you are a constant source if inspiration to me. Thank you for all you do!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank YOU for your wonderful, funny, helpful and out of the box blogs!!


  10. Douglas Taylor says:

    Dear Prof
    I just want to thank you for your inspiration. I am a retired accountant / banker / lecturer / analyst / businessman / academic (2nd stint) and now, finally, a semi-full-time (I have to earn a crust) PhD student at Dundee (and also a grandfather to 4 little girls). I have found your blogs helpful and very encouraging and have recommended them to all my fellow PhD’s at Dundee and all my students, ex students and colleagues in South Africa (Wits Business School). Keep going, knowing that you make a difference to all us mortals, and help to smooth our paths and keep us hopeful and motivated.
    Have a blessed 2018!


  11. Pingback: eek, it’s nearly 2018 — patter – A better you

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