Is a non-negotiable deadline closing in on you? Has it been set by your university? Or is a job – perhaps a postdoc– resting on your finishing your dissertation soon?
As you struggle to meet the deadline, it can feel as if you are barreling downhill on an icy, bumpy slope. And you fear that at any second you could be thrown violently off course.
It’s easy to fall victim to fears of not meeting a deadline and fears of success and the future. To meet the deadline and finish, you have to be almost counter intuitive. You have to keep skiing or skating into the jaws of danger, no swerving, no hanging back, no delaying.
The desire, courage, tenacity, mental toughness, and resilience of the athletes of the Winter Olympics are studies in relief of what a writer needs in order to finish a dissertation sooner rather than later.
Even the boldest of Olympians speak of their fears about performing and competing. From Russia’s skating superstar Evgeni Plushenko to the U.S. Men’s Half-Piper Gold Medal Winner Shaun White, they speak of the need to get into their routines before being sabotaged by their nerves and fears.
For you to finish your writing in a timely way, rather than fall along the wayside, means that you must move quickly into a writing routine. You also need to have in place a careful, specific timeline and a detailed writing plan that you follow religiously.
Evan Lysacek, the winner of the gold for the Men’s Figure Skating, planned each minute of his performance for maximum points.
Similarly, to finish your dissertation, you must be as strategic, practical, and savvy as Lysacek. Know the requirements and expectations of those who will review your work. Factor those requirements and expectations into your goals and timeline.
Your work is every bit as important to you as winning is to an Olympian athlete. Be smart.
1. Plan a timeline and writing schedule.
2. Move quickly into a daily writing routine.
3. Break out the outline and follow it.
4. Stay in the moment and focus.
5. Use your character strengths. Put your desire, courage, tenacity, mental toughness, and resilience into action.
The dissertation is yours to finish– plan, stay in the moment, and practice resilience.
All good wishes,
P.S. My February newsletter is being emailed. Last Call to sign up—go to www.smarttipsforwriters.com
Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach