Greetings, earthlings. It’s been a while since I blogged and I haven’t really explained much about what I’m doing these days. As you know, I’m working on my PhD, while still working my day-job in marketing. I’d like to tell you a little about what my PhD is all about, without giving too much away or going on and on. There’s so much I could say about it, but I’ll try to keep it straightforward!
As a one-liner, what I’m doing is this: I’m researching the emotional benefits of creative writing for cancer survivors. I’m thinking about things like fear of recurrence, health anxiety, poor body image, grief, PTSD, and other issues related to cancer survivorship. If you know, them, you know them! I’m doing an autoethnographic study. That means I’m Louis Theroux, but doing a documentary on myself. I am the subject. My illness experiences are the data. And the outcome will be a complete collection of poetry and/or prose – that remains to be seen. There is no distinction between creative writing and academic work – my creative writing is academic work (as my supervisor had to point out for me a couple of times before I got it!)
So I’m writing a lot creatively (or trying to), I’m researching different writing techniques, how writing can help with wellbeing, previous studies on cancer as a traumatic experience, and packaging it all together with my own various twists that are still top secret.
It’s awesome doing my PhD because I’m passionate about the two subjects it brings together, and it really feels right to be doing it. After going from wanting to be a teacher as a kid (or a famous singer, but fat chance of that), to doing a degree in business IT, to getting various jobs in digital marketing, to then doing my masters in creative writing alongside my day job, who thought I would end up here? And who knows what I’ll do after this? Not me, that’s for sure, but I’m excited to find out – as long as circumstances allow me to get that far! (Always, always with the caveats, but always hopeful.)