When you’re going nowhere fast on your dissertation, it’s time to try something different.
In a blog post a few months ago I asked what bold action you would take for the sake of your writing (“What Bold Step Would You Take to Gain 2 Good Writing Days?”). In today’s blog I want to share with you the story of someone bravely stepping out of the things-as-usual routine that had left her mired, stuck, and exhausted.
For the past several months she had been feeling awful because she wasn’t meeting deadlines and she wasn’t able to move forward on her dissertation.
It was time to try something different.
She took a week off, found a good deal on a hotel about an hour away from her house, and packed up her dissertation notes and drafts. She had no expectation that during the week of vacation she would do any work on the diss. If she made progress, that would be lovely, but she was not going to consider herself a failure if she did nothing.
Once in her hotel room, she spread her dissertation materials all over the entire room. She sorted things into piles. She could touch everything, look at it, and think about it.
Unlike her feelings about her diss over the past few months, she wasn’t anxious; she didn’t feel sick to her stomach.
As she told me later, she said to her diss spread over every surface in the room, “I’m just going to look at you. You’re completely benign. You’re not going to ruin my vacation. I’m just going to be present with you.”
When she got up the next day, she was curious about the different parts of her diss spread around the room, and she began reading, and making notes. She felt as if she were involved in an exciting little adventure
She stayed in the hotel for a few days. Each morning, she felt very positive and looked forward to the day, wondering what she would accomplish. She worked through the day, not even thinking about food until evening.
At week’s end, when it was time to pack everything up and leave, she was sad, but the experience had helped her to look more clearly at her project.
It is a big project, she said, but it was all sitting there in that room. There was nothing overwhelming about it.
The exciting adventure had helped her reframe her perspective. Today she is choosing to view the diss as a manageable situation. Her plan is to keep her vacation vibe going and to bring it into her space for writing in her house.
How about you? What brave investment are you willing to make for the sake of your writing?
I’d love to hear from you.
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Until next time!