Dissertation Procrastination

Dissertation Procrastination-47
After a week, you decide the whole daily writing thing doesn’t really work for someone like you.

After a week, you decide the whole daily writing thing doesn’t really work for someone like you.

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I have observed students spend 30 minutes writing, revising, deleting and rewriting a single sentence.

If that’s how you are spending your daily writing time, I understand why you might conclude that it doesn’t work.

For most dissertation writers, the inability to develop and maintain a daily writing practice is due to one of three things: 1) technical errors, 2) psychological obstacles or 3) external realities.

While I’ve written about those in detail elsewhere, let me provide a quick dissertation-specific overview so that you can diagnose why you’re not writing and then design a quick and effective work-around.

In fact, it literally means with 30 minutes a day, boo.

Dissertation Procrastination

When you’ve got that locked down, work your way up to longer periods of writing.The sad part is that it’s not the research that is holding up my progress (it is mostly complete) and it’s not my committee (they are supportive and want me to finish). I’m starting to think that I may never finish and will end up another A. That means you’re not the only person who has struggled while A. In other words, how can you design your work time to ensure that you have everything you need to complete your dissertation this year?Only you can answer these questions, but I would like to share a few insights and gentle suggestions.Pretty soon your writing time is over and you haven’t written a single word.You promise yourself that you’ll do better tomorrow, but the next day comes and goes with the same result.Get Real About Daily Writing I know I sound like a broken record on this point, so I’ll be brief.You cannot binge write a dissertation over a weekend, over a weeklong writing retreat or even if you hide in a cave for a month. We know that the most productive academic writers don’t write in large uninterrupted blocks of time; they write every day (Monday through Friday) in small increments.I also realize that it seems like everyone these days is telling dissertation writers to “write your dissertation in 15 minutes a day” or that “you should try 25-minute pomodoros.” And as you’ve noted, I regularly advise people to write for at least 30 minutes per day.In response, graduate students tell me “that’s pie in the sky,” “it’s impossible to write a dissertation in 15 minutes a day“ or (my personal favorite) “Bolker really meant 15 a day -- the publisher made a mistake and never fixed it, sending an entire generation of graduate students into a tailspin of self-loathing and misery.” So let me make two important distinctions.I encourage you to become aware of it and accept it for what it is. (Even 10 minutes will get you through the moment.) The goal is to win the moment each day.Once you can stack up enough daily wins, you’ll see that you’re making progress on your dissertation.


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