A very real frustration of mine at the moment is that the more I read and learn about a particular topic, the less I feel qualified to say anything about it. This poses a particular problem for writing a PhD, but I don’t doubt that it is relevant to whole host of other pursuits.

Each paper and book I read opens up new avenues of enquiry, new possible positions to take, and (most importantly) new reasons to think that what I was going to say needs amending or totally revising.

I find myself frantically pursuing arguments and trains of thought but getting no closer to being able to write coherently about them.

The more I learn, the more I realise that everything I write will get it a bit wrong. Even as I write this I hear possible objections and replies in my head – reasons why what I have said is not the whole story, or how the problem should be solved.

One tempting response then is not to write at all. Even with a deadline looming I am struggling to get through this barrier.

And I know it will have to be this way: pragmatics kicks in and the need to write out weighs the need to be right. I must undertake the task of producing a thing that can exist in its own right, detached somewhat from my internal search for a better thing to say. Let it stand alone and not be shy of its own imperfections.

Herein, for some, lies the key to more than writing a thesis – to blogging, to engaging with our society and culture, to joining the conversation.