Perfectionism gives you a perfect excuse never to write.
Perfectionism not only slows productivity, but it also makes sure that your dissertation will never meet your expectations.
Put up with the messiness of writing
You have to go through the stage of writing “abominably repetitive, colloquial sentences,” as a dissertation client once described the early stages of writing a draft. Abominable sentences in early drafts are part of the writing process.
Go for content
The perfectionist spends time crafting beautiful sentences but runs into trouble developing ideas.
Focus on putting into the early draft that content that you have rolling around in your brain, and give much less thought to form. That exquisite prose you have read in the finished dissertations of others or in the articles written by your advisor came about through multiple revisions.
If you spend your valuable time crafting lovely sentences in an early draft, you will kick yourself later when you ruthlessly have to strike those same sentences because they add nothing important. Buckle down and write.
Share your work before it’s ready
Commit to a specific time when you will send a section to a colleague. Then pat yourself on the back for bringing a dose of reality into your dissertation process, and say, “This isn’t great, but it is what it is.” Ask for feedback, if you can, or just get the boost to continue writing that sharing your work will give you. It will move things along for you far more than if you keep struggling alone, trying your hardest to perfect an early draft.
Face up to the perfectionism that has hamstrung you.
Do you need some help in gathering your courage? Do you need accountability to make a change? Drop me an email. I’d love to hear from you.
The best is yet to come.
Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach
nancy @ nancywhichard.com