Are you one of the many overworked, stressed people trying to write a dissertation at the same time that you’re holding down a demanding job? Is each day more complicated than the day before?
If you’ve been teaching as well as trying to find time to write, this week may be what you’ve been waiting for. Is it Spring Break for you?
For a while, you won’t have the burden of preparing to teach / dealing with students / dealing with the critical self-questioning after teaching a class / dealing with colleagues.
During at least some of Spring Break, you can push aside almost everything else to focus on your writing and still have time to exercise, smile inwardly, and, if you’re in a place where you have a change of seasons, watch for a squirrel or a tulip.
A Snow Day can produce a similar change in mood and perspective for a writer. Just two weeks ago here in the Washington DC metropolitan area, the month of March came in with a Snow Day, and it was heavenly. I’ve seldom heard anyone speak ill of a snow day. Given how hard everyone works, a snow day can be a miniature Spring Break, especially for all of us who no longer have Spring Breaks.
Occasionally over the last few years on the cul-de-sac where I live, I’ve seen a fox or two wander about. On the Snow Day, there it was! The fox meandered about the street, sidewalk, and yards, acting as if the world was as it should be, quiet, undisturbed, no cars carrying children to the grade school at the end of the street, nothing moving.
A Snow Day helps you move away from the ordinary. The usual doesn’t hold; you aren’t immediately drawn to email or your cell phone. Writing seems easier to do.
Snow Days are short-lived and, like Spring Breaks, even nonexistent for many people. You may have to do something else in order to focus on your important job of writing. To focus and write may require an extraordinary move.
Taking leave from her job, one of my clients flew across the country to be near her advisor, courageously and brilliantly giving herself time and space to work on her dissertation.
It’s coming toward the end of the time she had planned to stay. She says that staying an additional two weeks would be very helpful. If she returns home, she risks being consumed by her regular job and the commute. Regardless of what she decides, her initial choice to make a bold change in her life, even if for only a while, has made all the difference. She broke out of a huge stall and is now writing. She’s producing text.
To give you the chance to write, distance may be what you need—distance and difference. Snow cover gives difference; miles give distance; Spring Break can do both.
How are you creating difference and distance for yourself? How could that work for you and help you move forward with your dissertation? I’d love to hear from you.
Be courageous and put distance between you and the distractions. Don’t go back to the ordinary and usual until you have to.
P.S. Boot Camp for writers is a great way to create a writing habit. Would a strong writing habit be a change for the better for you?
Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation and Academic Career Coach