2014 in 14 Bullet Points

Happy New Year!

For the first post this year I thought it would be good to summarise my 2014 and what stands out for me. On Wednesday I’ll talk about some of my plans for 2015 as well, but it’s important to look back before planning ahead I think.

  1. I had a full year of me and my wife seeing our daughter change and grow before our eyes.
  2. I started blogging again in September, and was able to keep up four posts a week minimum until I took a break for Christmas.
  3. I conducted a survey about the viva experiences of PhD graduates in the UK, and shared some of the results.
  4. I produced 11 episodes of the Viva Survivors Podcast.
  5. I worked with over 800 researchers on various workshops.
  6. I didn’t read quite as many books as I hoped (see this Friday’s post for my 2015 reading list).
  7. I continued delivering Viva Survivor workshops and loving doing them – and started talking with supervisors about Viva Survivor too.
  8. I finally chucked out my undergraduate maths lecture notes (after going through and extracting some useful stuff). It’s over twelve years since undergrad, and I didn’t want to move house in a couple of years and still be carrying them with me.
  9. I decided that my next ebook was going to be Frequently Asked Questions About The PhD Viva, and I’m working towards publishing it in the next three months.
  10. Speaking of books, my first ebook, Fail Your Viva, is still available in the Amazon Kindle Store! I sold over 200 copies last year, and it was borrowed about 20 times too from the Kindle Library.
  11. And staying on the viva track for one more point, I started making plans for the Viva Survivors Podcast, and am happy that I was able to keep up two episodes per month for the last three months of the year.
  12. I started another podcast with a friend, where we waffle on about role-playing games. It’s A Gaming Podcast About Nothing, if you’re interested.
  13. I started a Patreon campaign to try and support the Viva Survivors Podcast financially, but I’ve had to suspend it until (at the very least) I find out what changes to the VAT laws would mean for me.
  14. I realised that I have a creative itch for role-playing games that is not being scratched; so now have to figure out what I want to do to start that ball rolling.

What were the highlights of 2014 for you? Did you get things done as you expected? What surprised you?

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)


Making the Viva Survivors Podcast

I’ve been producing the Viva Survivors Podcast for around two and a half years now, and every now and then I get asked questions about how I do it and how everything works. One side of it is the interviewees and their stories, and I ask (a lot!) for volunteers to come and share their stories. Then there is the nuts and bolts of how I produce episodes. Podcasting is often seen as a useful means to communicate research and ideas about doing research, so I thought I would take an opportunity to talk about the tools and services that I use. Hopefully this is helpful to someone reading!