“How can I do a dissertation quickly,” asked a would-be dissertator. Quickly, relative to what? Relative to not doing it at all? Quickly in terms of jumping back into the process and finishing it up? How rigorous is your university? How demanding is your advisor?
All of these questions are relevant, but first you have to answer this question: Are you writing now?
When people come to me wanting help with their dissertations, they most usually have been procrastinating and not only are they not writing daily, they aren’t writing much at all. It’s usually been a month or three months or ages since they’ve produced a page or two.
To do a dissertation quickly or to do a dissertation at all, you have to write and you have to write consistently.
For people who have found writing to be anathema or repellent, I offer a jump-into-the-deep-end-of-the-pool exercise to help them establish a writing habit — Dissertation Boot Camp.
In addition to dissertation coaching, Boot Camp is the shove many would-be writers need.
Dissertation Boot Campers benefit from these guidelines:
1. Commit to a daily writing session of a specific length;
2. Start that daily writing as early in the day as possible, before emailing and before running errands and before cleaning up the kitchen or the bathroom;
3. Be accountable on a daily basis, recording whether the goal for the day was met;
4. Plan something resembling a week-end during the Boot Camp.
5. Look forward to continuing with weekly coaching after Boot Camp to maintain strong accountability.
My job is to provide oversight, support, help with the accountability factor, and to offer whatever I can based on the experiences of my other clients.
Not only do you want to write your dissertation, quickly or otherwise, but you also want to have increased your character strengths, enhanced your writing and analytical skills, and expanded your intellectual purview—all of which you can use after you have your PhD.
Writing your dissertation gives you the opportunity
1. To learn how to push back against that perfectionist internal critic and other destructive gremlins;
2. To put procrastination in its place;
3. To discover how to persevere, even if perseverance is not your top strength;
4. To know your best “writing you”—the writer who takes to the bank the skill of taking on a writing project, scheduling it, writing it well enough and relatively quickly, and meeting deadlines.
When you’re finished once and for all with your dissertation, you want to have a success strategy in place – in the bank– that you can draw on for your future writing projects.
To finish your dissertation quickly, you need a robust writing habit. Are you writing consistently? I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time,
P.S. Smart Tips for Writers, my e-newsletter, goes out next week. If you aren’t subscribed, sign up at my website: www.nancywhichard.com.
Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC