“You can write your way into thinking, but you cannot think your way into writing.” Peter Weller, in an interview with Rebecca Peabody, author of The Unruly PhD

I recently had the good fortune to read a pre-publication copy of The Unruly PhD: Doubts, Detours, Departures, and Other Success Stories, by Rebecca Peabody, Head of Research Projects and Programs at the Getty Research Institute. The book is a fascinating look, through first-person accounts and interviews, at the process of obtaining a PhD (or not, in some cases) and the many paths that people take after entering a doctoral program.

Because dissertations and professional publications are such a big part of academia, the book also offers valuable perspectives on writing, such as the following thoughts from actor and director Peter Weller (yes, the RoboCop Peter Weller, also an art history PhD student):

“Every writer I’ve ever talked to says it—Gore Vidal, Saul Bellow. Make writing a priority. Hit it in the morning before the detours of daily living get in your way. Even if you have writer’s block, write garbage. Sit your ass in the chair because you can’t save it for a rainy day. I’m a procrastinator; as much as I get done in a day I’d still rather play with my kid, play golf, hang out—do anything else. So you’ve got to do it first. You can write your way into thinking, but you cannot think your way into writing.” ~ Peter Weller

Learn more about The Unruly PhD at the book’s website.