Welcome to Scriptoria!
I am Martha Boeglin, founder of Scriptoria.
I was born in Bulgaria, have a French father and a Serbian mother. I grew up in Cuba, Peru and Paraguay. I was 17 when I discovered Europe and the university. Now I leave in Germany - after 22 years in Berlin, I moved to the Black Forest.
After my Philosophy studies in Strasbourg, I presented my dissertation in 1998. My topic was: La violence de l’art moderne ou : Adorno, une esthétique de la non-violence (The Violence of Modern Art or Adorno, an Aesthetic of Non-Violence).
The first part of my writing process was a huge pain. I spent hours rewriting the first sentence of my thesis, deleting it, and writing it again and again. I had no idea where my text should lead, and thinking of my jury paralysed me...
Actually, my topic was clear. I was able to talk about it for hours. Moreover, I always loved to write, but I could not write my thesis - I was totally blocked.
A writing workshop at the Technische Universität of Berlin (T.U.B.) saved me, and my thesis. There I discovered crucial information that every PhD candidate should know:
- Writer's block is normal: It belongs to the writing process. Even experienced writers deal with writer's block.
- Writer's block is a taboo at university: People there act as if writing were the simplest thing to do in life.
- Overcoming writer's block is possible with simple techniques.
- The better you organize yourself beforehand, the easier it will be to write.
- A good text results from many revisions. The error is to try to do it well the first time.
- The three main sources of writer's block are: fear, perfectionism and... delusions of grandeur.
This workshop at the T.U.B. provided me with an efficient work strategy. From then on I wrote quickly, fluently, and my thesis was finished within three months. The second part of my writing process culminated in a flow of creativity. I enjoyed it a lot!
What a great surprise it was to discover writing techniques, writing strategies... and to realise that they are not taught at university!
As soon as I got my doctorate, I started to run writing workshops for PhD candidates in my flat in Berlin. It was too painful to see so many graduate students suffering from depression, enrolled in therapy, and taking medication because they felt unable to write their thesis. Not to mention those who dropped out before finishing their thesis (not because they were less intelligent: they were all brilliant people who had deeply researched their topic. The problem was the actual writing process.)
My workshops were helpful and some participants let their faculties invite me. I discovered how hudge the need for writing training is.
This is why I founded Scriptoria, the Writing Workshop for PhD students. This was in 2002. I works as an international consultant, working together with several universities through Europe.
My goal ist just do help young researchers to avoid the pain I went through as I started to write my thesis. Of course writing a thesis is challenging - but suffer is not indispensable. There are other ways to succeed!
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