Is your dissertation making you moody instead of motivated?
It’s possible that you’re too set in your ways. Do you believe that things have to be a certain way before you start to write? What time of day have you been telling yourself is the only time you can write? How do you think you have to approach your dissertation? Do you have to have the whole chapter thought through before you write? Do you think that your dissertation has to be amazingly spectacular?
Are your beliefs sabotaging you?
Maybe your attitudes and beliefs toward your writing are obstructive, unhelpful, and disruptive. If you’ve never tested or questioned the beliefs, they may have hamstrung you, making you too rigid to be productive.
Of course, some of what we’ve been told is definitely true, such as ‘That paper isn’t going to write itself.” Your mother may have mentioned that to you once in a while during your teen-age years.
Just think, though, how often you read that scientists and researchers have found totally new ways of looking at the way our brain works, the way our body works, and what affects our mood.
Case in point: Over the years, doctors have warned breast cancer survivors to be careful of lifting anything heavy. Many breast cancer survivors have a problem with swollen arms, due to the removal of lymph glands, but, as it turns out, lifting weights would not complicate the swelling. Now the New England Journal of Medicine reports that weight-lifting could actually help breast cancer survivors by increasing their strength and improving their mood.
And this: For a long time, people with back trouble, arthritis, joint and nerve damage have routinely been advised to take it easy and avoid exercise. Studies and experience now show that exercise, particularly water exercise or walking or weight training, is exactly what has helped people with these problems.
And Now This: Now, according to the New York Times, researchers say that runners who continue to run as they age, even running marathons, are unlikely to suffer degenerating knees. Runners who stop running more often suffer knee problems.
So your beliefs about how you write or what has to happen in order for you to write could bear scrutiny, too.
Clear the decks?
Have you been waiting to write until you could pare your schedule down to nothing? Is that because you believe that once your schedule is empty, you can then immerse yourself in writing, producing page after page? That could happen, but the writing of one of my clients came to a screeching halt this summer once her schedule was cleared. She found that with no structure, she just shut down. Come to find out, she wrote best when she had an active, busy life. Who would have thought it?
Bits, not blocks?
Many clients tell me that they have to have a big block of time in order to get into their writing. Since they don’t have a big block, they waste the small bits of time they have available. The clients who have seriously tested whether they could produce text in 15 minutes here and 15 minutes there have become converts to using whatever time is available. A fifteen-minute writing session each morning along with that first cup of coffee has helped one client move very close to finishing a first draft of her dissertation this summer. She works full-time and had almost given up on finishing her dissertation until she committed herself to grabbing bits of time, rather than big blocks, and particularly that 15-minute bit early each morning.
Breakthroughs happen when we shake things up.
How about you? Has somebody been giving you bad advice? What belief about your dissertation could actually be holding you back? Time for a change!
P.S. Do you believe that you don’t need a dissertation coach in order for you to finish your dissertation? How’s that belief working for you? Email me to find out how a dissertation coach can help.
Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach