Thoughts on using WordPress as a thesis writing tool instead of OpenOffice

I have decided to try to blog daily about blogging and blog software to get the thesis writing process going. I am writing about blogging and blogging software using word processing software and this doesn’t seem logical. Not only does my mind turn blank whenever I open my thesis document in Open Office I am also not using the software I am writing about. WordPress is a writing tool as well and maybe it is better suited for this process.

What are the differences using word processing software and blog software for writing? Personally I experience the following differences:

Writing style
Whenever I write an essay, a paper or a thesis I (semi-automatically) switch to an academic writing style which is more formal. This slows down the writing process because I have to rephrase sentences quite often to avoid casual spoken language writing. On top of that writing in English also requires extra time to formulate sentences. An advantage of writing blog posts is that I don’t feel this need to use formal (academic) language. This gives me more freedom in writing down whatever I feel is related to my thesis. Blogging feels more informal than writing using word processing software thus lowering the barrier of writing.

A random thought
A blog post does not have to be a solid constructed argument, it can just be a random thought. Because I seem to have more random thoughts than thoroughly constructed arguments lately blogging these thesis thoughts seems the perfect solution.

Articulate ideas through writing
This is actually a combination of the previous two and is one of the five motivations for blogging discovered by Nardi et al in a 2004 study ‘Why We Blog.’1 I use this blog to write down random thoughts to document them, expand on them and maybe even connect them.

Layout
Until now I spend more time on the layout of my OpenOffice text document than on the actual writing. Even though I am also quite busy with my blog layout (thinking about changing themes, more on that later) when I am writing I am writing and not concerned about the text layout.

Now I am going to think about my blog layout because I think it looks too messy.

  1. Nardi, Bonnie A., et al. “Why we blog.? Commun. ACM. 47.12 (2004): 41-46. []

5 thoughts on “Thoughts on using WordPress as a thesis writing tool instead of OpenOffice

  1. Very, very, very good post and good to read that I’m not the only one with the same problems. I really recognize the opening of the Open Office doc and then going blank! I do have some remedies now but the writing still has to take off. In my case (cause it’s all about locations, spatial) I just go out more and use the route navigation I’m writing about a lot more.

    Anyways, hang in there and the words will come out, good luck and don’t forget to have some fun in the progress :)

  2. (this might be a double post, cause the spam filter caught it, oh no!)

    Very, very, very good post and good to read that I’m not the only one with the same problems. I really recognize the opening of the Open Office doc and then going blank! I do have some remedies now but the writing still has to take off. In my case (cause it’s all about locations, spatial) I just go out more and use the route navigation I’m writing about a lot more.

    Anyways, hang in there and the words will come out, good luck and don’t forget to have some fun in the progress :)

  3. Hey Twan, thanks for your reply!
    Interesting to see you are also taking the “hands-on and dive-into-the-action” approach. On the one hand this seems a very logical approach to the problem but on the other hand it might make it hard to be reflective.
    And yes, I am all in for having fun in the progress and good luck to you too!

  4. Thanks! Yeah, being reflective is kind of tricky, and its also a bit harder to actually keep the ‘big red line’ of the thesis in there (and clearly define it in the text). But I guess it’s better to have the whole text ready, read it, then reflect, than sitting in front of the desk with the hands in the hair! (is that also correct english?)

    Anyway, if I find out some more writings strategies I’ll let you know :)

  5. Concerning using a formal (thesis) or informal writing style (blog) I recently came across an interesting post
    appropriately titled “Conversational writing kicks formal writing’s ass”

    I suffer from both the “conventional inertia” and “the author’s of way of showing respect for both the topic and the reader” reasons for using formal language.

    Maybe it is time for a change of mind and time to stop worrying about rewriting my whole blog so it will be appropriate for my thesis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *