Archive for the ‘visioning’ Category

If you are still on the fence about re-starting your dissertation, the truth is that it doesn’t have to be hard.  Make it easy.

For the first session in re-starting your dissertation, you just show up.  You don’t have to write.  You don’t have to search for articles or read.  You just show up.  And we all know how important showing up is. 

Decide before sitting down how long this first session will be.  10 minutes?  You decide. 

So this first time in your special place and at the chosen hour, you sit down.  Take a few deep breaths.  Slow everything to a halt.  If you feel anxious, then do some self-calming exercises—talk aloud or tap your pulse point on your wrist or roll your shoulders and your neck. 

This is a good time to reflect or meditate.  Or think of you at your best. 

Again, help yourself to feel at ease.  If you find that you need something at your chosen place for writing to comfort you—a picture, a soft stuffed animal, a pillow—make a mental note to round that up once this first session is over.  For now, tell yourself that you do not have to stay one minute past your scheduled 10 minutes, or whatever amount of time you had decided.

And when the time is up, get up—don’t stay there.

Now pat yourself on the back because you showed up, you sat there, you calmed yourself, you did not check your email, and you did not answer the phone or make calls.

If you messed up and did something other than showing up, then plan for another initiation of your new writing plan.  Plan for another 10-minute session and tell yourself how you will spend your time and what is allowable during that time.

You’re re-wiring your multi-tasking, harried brain.  You are showing up.  You are sitting  in a your chosen place for writing and anticipating doing very soon a great deal on your dissertation.

 One step at a time.

“Little by little, one walks far”  — Peruvian Proverb

Your Dissertation Coach

Read Full Post »

A thoracic surgeon performs a mitral valve rep...

Image via Wikipedia

“Bold Surgery Saves a Life”

. . .

“A New Face: A Bold Surgeon, an Untried Surgery”

. . .

These headlines grabbed my eye today.

They reminded me of my client who, since she was really stuck in her writing,  decided on drastic action.  She checked into a hotel for two days and wrote.

You may recall that story–I wrote about that a few weeks ago in this space.  So she didn’t save a life, but she was hugely productive.

Now I ask you–what bold, risky step have you taken for the sake of your writing?

Did you construct the syllabus for the class you’re teaching to free you up for a day or so?

Did you commit to writing fewer comments on student papers?

Let’s get serious—what if you were 5 times bolder?

Let’s say . . . How about taking 3 weeks away from work to devote to your writing?

One of my amazing clients has done just that—she’s taken 3 weeks off, and she will not be paid for 2 of those 3 weeks.

She’s made sure that she has what she needs—she brought boxes of  her diss stuff home from work.  She’s making a detailed plan so that at the start of each day she has her to-do list of manageable tasks.  She’s arranged to check in with me by phone every couple of days as she gets started.

Surgeons don’t have a monopoly on boldness.

“. . . .And the success of Murray’s ‘extremely bold’ surgery opened the way for transplants of other organs such as the liver and heart.”

“. . . .Bold Three-Stage Brain Operation for Intractable Seizures Appears . . . .”

Finishing your dissertation may take not just a bold step, but an audacious step.

Write your own headline today.  How do you want it to read?

Imagine the copy that could be written about you.

Bold!  Brilliant!  Finishing Her Dissertation!

I’d love to hear from you.  What’s a bold step you’re willing to take?

At my website (www.nancywhichard.com),  I offer a free newsletter.  I think you would like it.  Why not sign up for it and then tell me what you think?

Until next time,


Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC

Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach




Read Full Post »

As one of my dissertation clients looked toward the summer, he would say,

“I have to really work this summer.”  He would also say, “If I don’t accomplish
a lot this summer, I might as well quit.”  I could hear tension and guilt in
his voice.

When I asked him if he wanted to write, he answered, “I have to.”

Sometimes it helps to remember that we made a choice to get a doctorate, and
each day we write, we’re exercising our right to choose. 

When I asked my client to say, “I want to write–  I choose to write,” he complied,
though not enthusiastically. 

“Humor me,” I said, as I asked him to try it again.  This time, though, I asked if
he would look in a mirror and watch himself as he spoke those words and listen
carefully to what he was saying. 

To his surprise, he reported that he was noticing a lessening of his tension. 

As odd as it sounds, changing what you say about your dissertation can change
your perspective. 

Check out what happens when you say, “I choose to write this dissertation.”
Try it a few times each day, and keep it up for a week or so. 

Most of my dissertation clients report that this experiment helps them feel more
in control of their writing.

Changing our language has a powerful effect because it removes us from the role
of victim, reminding us that we do have a choice and that we are strong enough
to stand up to this work.

Until next time,


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

Read Full Post »

In my last post, I asked you to take a mental snapshot of yourself when you were at your best, when you were unstoppable.

Take a moment and look now at that snapshot—stay there for a bit.  Take it in.

What’s a descriptive phrase that captures the essence of that moment or time of You at Your Best?

Get it right so that to bring up the mental picture all you need to do is say the phrase.

Mine is “Nancy in the pink dress.”

When I was finishing my masters, eons ago, Dr. Ernest Bufkin, my advisor, cknowledged me in ways that even today bring me feelings of gratitude and pride.

When I sat for my orals, I wore [you guessed it] a pink dress.  The phrase “Nancy in the pink dress” gives me a clear picture of myself, of the scene, and how I felt.

As I wrote my dissertation, just  saying “Nancy in the pink dress” brought up a vision of me at my best.  That phrase and vision reminded me of what I had accomplished and what I was capable of doing.

As you prepare to write – you’ve done your deep breathing and you’re in a quiet, eflective moment— say aloud the phrase that brings the image to mind of You at Your Best.

Soak it in and allow it to fill you with hope and courage.

Do you have a phrase of you at your best?  I’d love to hear about it!

I’d also love to send you a copy of my free newsletter.  Please visit my website (www.nwcoaching.com) to sign up.

Until next time—my best to you,


Nancy Whichard, PhD, PCC
Dissertation Coach
nancy @ nancywhichard.com

Read Full Post »

On your worst day, on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 the highest), how high is your resistance to start writing your dissertation? 

On those days when your resistance is high, how hard is it just to sit down at your desk?  Once you’re seated, do you then have an overwhelming urge to flee? Do you feel in danger of being sucked into the tornado that seems to be sitting on your chest and stopping your breathing?  I’m not exaggerating, right?  I’ve felt it, too.  

How can you calm yourself and feel safe enough to write?  

The old tried- and-true deep breathing is the first step. 

1)  Close your mouth and, as you push out your stomach, take in a deep breath through your nose.  Hold this for a second, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat a couple of times. This simple breathing exercise can put the brakes on that out-of-control feeling in your body. 

 2) After the deep breathing, sit for a moment and promise yourself that you will write in just a couple of minutes. 

3)  Then close your eyes.  In your mind’s eye, bring up a picture of yourself when you were at your best, when you were unstoppable.  What were you doing?  Where were you? Savor this moment as you take in You at Your Best.  Take a mental snapshot of yourself that you can easily draw up.     

In the next couple of posts, I’ll let you know how some of my dissertation clients move from this point into writing. 

That’s all for now.  Happy week-end. 


P.S. This week I received in the mail an announcement from one of my dissertation clients that she will be conferred the degree of Doctor of Philosophy on Saturday, the sixteenth of June.   Wow—that’s today!  Let’s celebrate.  Happy Finishing!

 P.P.S.  Incredible writers,  you, too, will be conferred the degree of ________________  on ______________  [fill in the blanks]. Put that intention out there!

Nancy Whichard, PhD, PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach



Read Full Post »