Day 1: Piss off, monkey

Writing. Since I began my PhD, it’s been the proverbial monkey on my back. I don’t dislike it, in fact I often find I enjoy it when I’m doing it. But I build it up in my head as something much more daunting than it actually is. In that way and others, it’s like going to the gym; an anxiety that is worse than the experience, something that is better done regularly in shorter bursts, and by actually doing it it makes me happier.

So I’m going to set myself the goal of writing a blog post for 20 minutes, Monday-Friday. I may not post every day, but I will write. I used to have a semi-regular blog at, some of which I then moved to my new website at Some friends told me they found some of these posts useful, and this is great motivation to take it up again. But right now, this writing is to help me.

I’m unsure exactly what I’ll write about. It’ll be some mix of R, bioinformatics and computational biology, and thoughts on papers that I read and talks that I attend. For example, this afternoon Mark Daly of the Broad Institute is giving a talk and my plan is to take some notes to write up as a summary. There will also likely be some self-indulgence; writing about writing, and about my career planning and aspirations (as I figure these out …).

My 20 minutes are up. I’m going to make all these posts public - working and discussing in the open has been a net-positive for me - but I won’t ‘advertise’ until I’ve actually got something worth advertising. Until tomorrow.