Successful Writing Tips

3 Tips for Restarting Your Dissertation

For sundry reasons, several dissertation coaching clients are now looking around and saying, “What happened to the last three months of my life, how can September be nearly over, and what do I do now?”

Bemoaning the lack of progress you’ve made on your dissertation doesn’t help.  Starting again is the key.  And not just starting, but forming a daily writing habit.  

If you’ve been reading my blog on most any given day, you know that I advocate forming a daily writing habit as the best way to produce text and to finish your dissertation.

 Practicing that habit is critical. 

Just as musicians have to practice in order to play well, writers have to practice their writing habit in order to produce a finished document.

I came across The Practice Notebook, a blog designed to help professional musicians and music students alike to develop good practice habits. And even better, it’s to help musicians “make the most of limited practice time, by making your practice as efficient as possible.” 

The tips are all good.  With apologies and thanks to the practice notebook blogger, I have rewritten three tips particularly applicable to dissertation writers who are restarting their dissertations after time off.

The initial goal in restarting your writing is to wake up your brain, tame your space, and tame yourself.

 1.  When you make your plan to restart, go light on those first few writing sessions.  Short is good when you’re just re-starting.  If you can last through 15 minutes the first day, you’re on your way. 

 2. If you are a bit out of practice with your dissertation writing and can’t detect any signals between your brain and fingers, do some warm ups.  Start by making a list. Do some free writing.  Write a haiku.   

 3.  When you’re restarting your dissertation writing with the intention of getting your dissertation writing habit up and running, it’s o.k. to write in your monkey jammies.  What?  You don’t have monkey jammies? O.k., then, how about writing in your knit sleep pants?  They’re good, too. Make yourself comfortable and reward yourself for showing up.

 Go gently, but firmly and keep coming back.

 Dissertation coaching can help you restart your dissertation, too.

 All good wishes,


Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach