Yesterday, a friend of mine told me that my writing had changed. For the better? Well, yes, apparently. We were really talking about something I’d written at work but it wasn’t until then that I realised the influence of different paradigms on writing. At work, I’m a medical writer – concise, active, blunt. I can reduce things from 3000 words to 2000 ready to submit to an academic journal, from 300 words to 200 words for a conference abstract. Slash and burn, that’s me. But it doesn’t sort of work that way when you’re writing something for the social sciences. That type of writing is more relaxed, thoughtful, ethereal even. A bit more – dare I say it – akin to writing fiction. Always based in theory and research, of course, but approached from a different highway. I’ve had to slip into this mode since starting my art-based PhD and I can see evidence that it’s gradually happening. It’s difficult, like serving yet another apprenticeship which, at 47, I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever NOT be an apprentice! I take comfort from Ernest Hemingway: ‘We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.’

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