You’re frustrated that it is taking so much time to get to the dissertation finish line.
Do you minimize your efforts and withhold any sense of accomplishment for the work you’ve done to get this far? Each week you look back and dismiss your work “Is that all? Well, really, that wasn’t good enough.”
Is it all or nothing for you?
Here are three approaches that may be of help in beating back that all-or-nothing mentality
Practice an old virtue
Are you impatient with how long it takes to accomplish a significant piece of writing? Impatient with how long it takes to do something big?
With never enough time, we may feel that patience is a luxury that we can’t indulge in. We whip ourselves to work faster and to produce more, without acknowledging ourselves for the work we have accomplished. Practicing patience encourages us to work steadily and moderately, rather than throwing ourselves into a wildly exhausting, desperation move to meet a deadline.
To remind yourself that patience has a place in your life as a writer, try something that might remind you of your mother. Think of something that your mother would encourage you to do on a regular basis, something you would resist, but when you finally did it, you would grudgingly see the benefit. I’m thinking of something small that you could try, like improving your posture. Every so often, say, once an hour, throw your shoulders back, raise your head, and take a deep breath. Let that action serve as a reminder of the beneficial results of doing something patiently, consistently.
Slow and steady. Little by little. Patience.
Add a new strategy
Set a 24-hour goal for yourself. Is it hard to value the small steps you are making and what’s possible in the short-term? Put your focus on a manageable goal for each day, rather than the goal for week’s end.
Ask yourself what writing goal you can do within the next 24 hours. What one thing? Whether you have four hours a day or one hour a week to accomplish the goal, think about what is reasonable for you to complete in the amount of time that you have. Write your 24-hour goal in a very conspicuous place, such as on your white board.
Then the next day ask the same question of yourself — what one thing can I do within the next 24 hours?
Be sure to keep a record of your success in meeting the 24-hour goal.
Put a better routine in place
Recently I received an inquiry about my two-week Boot Camp that I offer writers. The person asked how people who work and have families can find time to do anything more.
Finding time to write during the week when you have so many demands is tricky, but not impossible. Boot Camp is adapted to each person’s needs. What many writers want is a retreat, an oasis in her day which she can dedicate to her writing project, and someone to whom she can be accountable on a daily basis. Whether we call the time a Writer’s Retreat or Boot Camp, the critical elements are reasonable, daily writing goals and a moderate, consistent writing routine.
What might help you to work moderately and consistently?
I’d love to hear from you.
Watch your email for the February edition of my newsletter—Smart Tips for Writers. If you aren’t receiving my newsletter, you can sign up on my website (www.nancywhichard.com).
All good wishes,
Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach
nancy @ nancywhichard.com
Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. ~John Quincy Adams