Writing the dissertation : Part I

Sritama Chatterjee
2 min readFeb 26

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I realized today that as someone who is reflective about her process, I have not really processed (in writing ) my current dissertation writing process. My journals, Notes app of my iPhone are filled with random musings and thoughts about ideas, methods, concepts and questions that I have about my diss. But I have not given much thought into how this dissertation writing process is shaping up for me. So here’s some bullet points that I think are crucial to my diss writing process :

a) It’s mulling over the primary texts for days, months and years for me. I will read them and write down the quotations/excerpts in my laptop. Then I write down my close readings of the excerpts and see what insights they generate for me. I have almost never read a secondary text before engaging intimately with the primary texts. I start writing a chapter in this way.

b) As I write, I approach my subject from a position of humility and adopt grounded strategies ( I can write a lot about this !) Yes, we are “experts” in our fields but writing from a position of humility opens up a space for interrogating difficult questions in my research.

c) If the politics of an argument is not clear to me, that argument is not going into my essay.

d) Writing the dissertation has opened up so many aspects of storytelling that I still need to explore. For instance, I recently took a workshop on writing with senses in place-based writing and that had been helpful in my storytelling. But one thing, that I really need to explore more is writing humour and joy. They are categorically two different things for me. And while my diss does not have the scope for writing humour yet, writing about joy is an important aspect in my diss. I noticed recently that I am falling into the same techniques and strategies while writing joy. And I need to break that circle. Who’s offering a workshop on writing joy that I can take ? or do you have book recommendations for me?

e) Things that I was interested in eight years ago and I thought that I had moved on in terms of my research interests are now coming back to me in my diss (even if it’s just a section)

As I move along, I will process my thoughts more ! Thank you for reading and stopping by

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Sritama Chatterjee