You maximized your time this summer, and you’ve moved your dissertation along. But it’s September 2? How did that happen?
If you’re teaching this fall, you have been doing a number of admin things. You’ve over-prepared for the first few classes and have a great syllabus in place. You know your lines.
But to move into your fall teaching or work responsibility, you have had to ignore the dissertation chapter that you had meant to wrap up in August.
Not only did you not finish that chapter—and I’m betting it’s the conclusion that you left hanging—you may have slowed down because finishing the conclusion means that everyone on your committee will read your text. Perhaps you might be dragging your feet in order to ward off all imagined criticism.
At this point, you know that you’re procrastinating. You know that you will eventually move back into that chapter. To make that move sooner rather than later, here are three ways to help you get started:
1. Look at the conclusions of a couple of dissertations.
Are they relatively short? How many pages? Estimate how long will yours be. Choose one dissertation and outline it— how does the writer move into the chapter? What are the parts or subheads of the chapter? How complicated does it seem? How much development and depth does it have?
Can’t you say without a doubt that you could do as well?
2. Without rehashing your argument and evidence and in no more than 2 paragraphs, summarize where you’ve been and what you’ve said in this dissertation. If you are dillydallying, then give yourself a time limit. Write your summary in 5 minutes or you have to send 10 bucks to the presidential candidate that you do not want to succeed. Is it a deal?
3. What is the personal investment that you have in this work? How is that connected to the theorizing you’ve done in the dissertation? Write a paragraph delineating both your personal investment and its connection to the theorizing.
O.k., then, you’ve got a running start on your conclusion. I know you can take it from here, but just to support you, I may check in with you again tomorrow.
P.S. If you have been procrastinating on your dissertation, you might want to read the next issue of my Smart Tips for Writers newsletter. In the upcoming issue, the main article will be “How to Become a Recovering Procrastinator.” If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, don’t put it off! Go to www.nancywhichard.com.