Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘success’ Category

“ABD” is not a credential.  It isn’t a degree.  All things considered, finishing your dissertation is probably the smart thing to do.

It can help you get a job or keep the one you have.  Even if you aren’t going into the academic job market, for now, you may be surprised what a PhD can do for you on down the road somewhere.

Furthermore, sticking with your dissertation may give you the chance to learn something –quite a bit of something – that you didn’t know before.  It’s easy to disregard the dissertation process as a time for learning since the emphasis is on finishing and moving on.  

During the dissertation process, you may be fortunate enough to learn:
•  How to take care of yourself physically and emotionally so that you don’t sabotage your success
• How to understand fully that you have every right to the success you’re achieving
• How to take risks and to be bold in the writing process even though you’re scared
• How to recognize when you need help and to ask for it
• How to be clear-headed and reasonable even if your advisor is not clear-headed or reasonable
• How to write during whatever time, big or small, that you have
• How to find your way and to keep moving toward a big, difficult goal
• How to feel grateful for
       –the progress you are able to make
       –the opportunity to earn a PhD
       –an advisor who does his/her best to help you

All good wishes,

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation and Academic Career Coach
nancy@nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com
www.usingyourstrengths.com
www.dissertationbootcamp.net

Read Full Post »

To build any significant momentum on your dissertation, you need to write every day.  It’s up to you how much you do every day, but commit to daily action and start a specific plan.

What do you need to do to get started?

1. Plan your schedule and keep it in front of you.
Use a hand-written daily calendar and make it visible—put it on a whiteboard. Know when you will settle in to work every day for a week at a time.  Check that calendar (even though it won’t change), just to make it clear to your Lizard Brain that you will be in a certain spot and at certain time. 

2. Underpromise the amount of time you will work each day.
•  Be sure that you can work for the amount of time you are committing to.  Don’t set yourself up for failure by overpromising.
•  At the end of each work session, celebrate achieving your goal.  Give yourself a pat on the back and a big smile, plus a big star on your calendar.

 3. Anticipate that you will try to sabotage your own plan
If you have a plan, will you still try to flake away?  Probably– you’re an expert on this.  How many times have you tried to start writing but still thrown “yeah, but’s” in your path. Don’t give yourself any leeway once you’ve put your schedule in place.

4. Get clear on where you slip up– Make a list of your treacherous distractions.
What have been your  preferred interruptions and diversions?  I’ve been around  master procrastinators, and I’ve done a bit of it myself.  You can’t fool a fooler.

•  Does it all start with email?
The bane of your existence, perhaps?  Too often all mischief starts with your checking an email for just a few seconds.

•  Once you surrender to Facebook, is all hope lost?
Facebookhas shown “genius in harnessing the collective procrastination of an entire planet,”  says the Washington Post. But, you knew that, right?  And then on to Youtube. Whether it’s your boss sending you links to videos or you surfing Youtube, you get hooked and time passes.

5. Earn the time for social networking.
Earn the time by showing up on time for your writing session and sticking with it.  Write. Don’t give your best time to what should be rewards.  Earn the minutes that you will spend on Facebook or email.

6. Be accountable.
Again, anticipate where you stopped short in the past.  Adding someone else to your process is a winning strategy.

You have lots of choices.  Try one or try them all:
•  Get in touch with your advisor
•  Buddy up with another writer
•  Check out a Dissertation Boot Camp
•  Hire a dissertation coach

Time to commit to daily writing:
•  Make a plan
•  Get your support system in place.

Best wishes,

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach
nancy@nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com
www.usingyourstrengths.com

Read Full Post »

Monet set staring at his garden in Giverny, France.  A neighbor asked him when he was going to start working. Monet said that he was already working.

Later, when Monet was painting, the neighbor passed by again and said, “Oh, you’ve started working.”  To which Monet said, “No, now I’m resting.”

I don’t know if this story about Monet is true, but it suggests different points of view of how we break through to new ideas that allow us to be productive.

•    Monet may have been actively analyzing what he was seeing.  Perhaps he was planning the technique he would use once he began painting. 

•   Or perhaps he was letting go of the everyday concerns and minimizing distractions.  He may have been initially unaware of the connections his mind was making as he sat there and gazed at the light playing on the flowers.

•   But then a sudden insight could have allowed him to see the scene in a new way, allowing him to focus just on his sense of sight.  His perception of the scene piqued his curiosity and he saw a puzzle that could be solved.

Accounts from several of my clients writing dissertations and books support the fascinating, new research that has written about in newspapers and books.  This new research tells us that the unfocused mind generates striking, creative ideas and makes associations that will not come when, for example, my writing clients are at their most intent.
 
One client had been struggling for some time to get beyond merely describing her fieldwork.  Her attempts to devise an original, theoretical framework had not been successful.

To relieve her stress, she had wisely added weekly volunteer work and exercise to her schedule, as well as continuing to work on her dissertation. She came to a coaching call with me one evening excited and optimistic:  “The framework came to me as I drove home from my volunteer work today,” she said.

Making space in her day for something besides her dissertation and thus having time for her mind to be idle and to rest surely produced the insight.  And it was a sudden insight.

My client’s upbeat mood as she left her volunteer work may also have helped produce the unexpected insight.  Researchers say that a sudden insight is more likely if you are in a good mood.

Robert Lee Hotz writes in The Wall Street Journal (June 19, 2009) that Northwestern University researchers, using brain scanners and other sensors, have studied how a-ha moments take shape in our brains, even before we’re consciously aware of them.

Our brain is most active when we are the least aware of our thoughts.  At those times, connections are made from different parts of our brain, creating new frameworks and new ways of thinking.

What might this research mean for you as a writer?  How could this research help you as you’re writing your dissertation?  I’d love to hear from you.

Happy August,

Nancy

P.S.  Can write a good email? In my first newsletter of the fall, I discuss writing email and how it and other kinds of writing could be of help to the academic writer. If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, Smart Tips for Writers, go to my website and take care of that.  My website is at www.nancywhichard.com.

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation and Academic Career Coach
nancy@nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com
www.usingyourstrengths.com

Read Full Post »

What is successful writing?  And how can motivation play a part in your achieving successful writing?

You, along with many people, may be celebrating holidays this week.  It’s probably been next to impossible for you to do the writing that you had promised yourself you would do.  It may also have been quite some time since you produced any text at all.

Getting started after being away from your writing for a while may be a challenge.

To me, whatever writing you can do will be successful writing.  The most successful writing is that first writing that you get on the screen or on the page after there’s been a slowdown or a complete stoppage. To start, regardless of how much conflict you feel, and to write through whatever anxiety you’re feeling are causes for celebration.

During this holiday season, you have some time where you can slow down a bit.  You can forgive yourself for all the times you didn’t write.  Let go of that regret.  Let’s think about a different way to approach your writing.

What would it be like for you to stay in a calm, trusting mood for a couple of days?  Trust that you can feel some anxiety, but write anyway. Trust that you will find your way through the work when you return to it.  Plan the time when you will return to your work and envision yourself doing the work.

This is the time to refill the well and to nurture yourself. Stay in a calm and trusting mode, knowing that you will move into the plan at the appropriate time.

If you’re interested in how a boot camp might be part of the plan, check out my website:  www.nancywhichard.com.  And sign up for my free e-newsletter, too.  The issue that’s going out very soon will also have an article on boot camps.

All good wishes for a Merry Christmas/Happy Holiday,

Nancy
Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation and Academic Career Coach
nancy@nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com

Read Full Post »

One of the top 5 strengths that many of my dissertation clients share is curiosity.

It’s not surprising that motivated, high-achieving academic people would have curiosity as a top strength.

And as you write a dissertation and live your life, the benefits of curiosity are many. For one thing, curiosity is among those specific strengths which are most likely to make for a happy life.  Positive Psychologist Chris Peterson has found that along with gratitude, zest, hope, and capacity to love, curiosity is one of the strengths most closely related to greatest life satisfaction.  It has also been found in at least one study to be associated with a long life.

So what else can this wonderful strength do for you?

Assuaging your curiosity has its own built-in reward.  It is fulfilling.

Another way that curiosity rewards you for the effort is that the resulting learning usually produces more curiosity.  Knowing that there is more to learn or that you don’t know everything yet can induce greater curiosity.

If curiosity is one of your top strengths and you are using that strength, you know how excited and engaged you are when you are satisfying your curiosity or in a state of curiosity.  One of my clients used the word “joy” to describe the feeling when he is in this state.

What would you be willing to do to experience joy as you’re researching or writing your dissertation?

How are you feeling about your dissertation?

I’d love to hear from you.  I’d also love to send you my Smart Tips e-newsletter.  Go to my website at www.nancywhichard.com to sign up.

Until next time, unleash your curiosity!

Happy writing,

Nancy
Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach
www.smarttipsforwriters.com
www.dissertationbootcamp.net
www.nancywhichard.com
nancy @ nancywhichard.com

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts