metaphors for writing

“Ideas like impenetrable knots” … metaphors for writing

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In this post Doctoral Researcher @marycryan  reflects on writing her first Doctoral assignment, exploring her own metaphor for writing.   

I write everyday, it’s a part of my job, so why was writing this so difficult? Firstly because it is a new challenge and raised many questions

  • how do I to know that I’m writing at the correct level?
  • how do I express my passion for my subject in the appropriate language?
  • will the reader ‘get’ my passion?
  • how do I know it has not all been said before?
  • how do I explain every detail of why my research question needs an answer?

After the first couple of weeks of developing my assignment, I began to realise that it was this final question that most perplexed me. In my day job I am trying to express ideas and practices in a fully formed, condensed and succinct way, expressing the material in an easy to pass on way, like a tightly rolled ball of wool.


Writing about my ideas for my research topic was to be very different. These are my ideas; they are muddled; they have many layers; they are not succinct. To visualise as a length of wool, that has been played with by a kitten and has become quite tangled.


Some of my ideas are more like very impenetrable knots! To complete my assignment I needed to give all these thoughts a narrative and a back story, make them orderly and lead in a structured way from one point to the next. This, I realised,was the difficulty and where the guidance I had been given and the planning I had done would come to fruition Drafting the assignment would begin to untangle the ideas and feedback on the draft loosen the knots and give direction to my edits.

The final write up gave the whole thing flow and polished my ideas. Hopefully I have delved into the cause of every knot and tangle and ended up with a length of wool more like this.


I hope my ideas are now fully explained and my passion clear, I won’t know if my woolly thinking is fully untangled until I get the feedback!

Reblogged from EdD researcher: