Being on my second year of the PhD, I am now confident that this is a process much more complex than just researching your own topic and writing about it. It is about participating and/or attending conferences where you can share your research but also listen to everyone else. It is about remaining in touch with the academic community, its trends, questions, topics, rivalries and debates. It is about joining residencies and exposing yourself. It is about learning to write the academic way, which is sometimes useful -in that it demands precision while inviting critical thought- and others extremely annoying -in that it sometimes deprives texts from being communicative, poetic or more simple in some ways. It is about staying focused at your research no matter what, but at the same time networking to remain in touch with the academia. You learn to support your research, present it, raise questions, raise some more questions, doubt even more and then write about it. It is a process of going back and forth, confused, unsure but yet holding on to some 80.000 words that will be miraculously written at the end. It is tiring, challenging, lonely, exciting and as such it invites frequent mood swings that make you look half crazy to everyone else. Or maybe you are half crazy for doing it, but it doesn’t matter since you have already started.
Good luck everyone!