Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Feeling stuck?  Feeling as if your well has gone dry? 

What’s a writer to do?

At such times when nothing seems to be coming together for you in your writing and when you feel more resistance toward your dissertation than usual, what can you do to stir things up a bit and to start writing?

Exercise is good.
Exercise will eat some of that anxiety and definitely improve your mood.  If you improve your mood, your resistance to writing will be lessened, and it will be easier for you to see connections among your ideas.

How about lowering the stakes?
Here’s a tip from a couple of my dissertation coaching clients, who are always a great resource for what works:  Try www.750words.com.  My clients recommend it as a place to brighten your mood and help you ease into writing.

This website is safe, fun, and makes it easy to write. You write on the site, and it’s like writing for a new friend, someone who’s cheerily wishing you well and nonjudgmentally suggesting that you do some writing.

A little number at the bottom of the screen shows how many words you’ve written and when you have written 750 words (more or less three pages) you get a “Congratulations!” And you also get points toward such rewards as a little electronic penguin.

One dissertation coaching client told me that she has her web browser set to that site. It’s the first thing that opens for her, making it a little easier to start writing.  She also said that her first writing on the site was a letter to her dissertation, telling it how much she hated it.  Take that, foul dissertation!  Then, to be fair, she let her dissertation write back to her.

The goal is to start writing. If you lower the stakes, you’re more likely to break through your resistance to writing. Keep making the attempt. Things will add up. 

All good wishes,


Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach

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Another Monday is upon us.  If you have an office job, will you drag into work, thinking of fifteen other places you would rather be, with bed high on the list?  Re-entry into the work week is hard, but re-starting your writing no matter what day of the week wins the Resilience and Determination Litmus Test hands down.

Here are three tips for restarting your writing routine: 

1.  The shorter time since you were last writing, the easier it is to begin. If you wrote yesterday and stopped at point where you weren’t totally spent, you have something more to give to the writing today.  Stick to a scheduled writing routine.

2.  Always have three key words at the ready to guide the day’s writing session.  When you end each writing session, write down at least three key words that will spark your ideas for the next writing session.  If you do that, you will have a way to move into the writing.  Then re-entry may not be so overwhelming.

3.  Starting your day with a workout or a run will recharge your brain.  Have you heard about the schools that are now using exercise within the classroom and scheduling competitive, heavy-duty exercise early each day to awaken the kids’ brains?  Dr. Charles Hillman at the University of Illinois says that exercise is “good for attention, it’s good for how fast individuals process information, and how they perform on cognitive tasks.”

In “The Happiness Project” blog, Gretchen Rubin says that when she drops her child off at day care, she could then exercise at her conveniently located gym before going to work, but she doesn’t want to waste the morning time.  It is true that the morning is the best time to write, but exercise is never a waste of time.

For a faster restart to your writing and with less foot dragging:
 1. Write daily.
2. Write three key words at the end of each writing session to jump-start the next session.
3.  Spend 30 minutes on a treadmill or in other aerobic exercise each morning.

What about you?  What’s your plan for a smart re-start to your writing?

Best to you,


Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach

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Want to feel calm, even fulfilled, while increasing your productivity?  And meet a dissertation deadline?  Read on.

Recently, I blogged about how a client achieved greater productivity in her writing. 

She and I had collaborated over what steps would most likely yield success.  Sticking to her plan gave her the success she wanted–she met her deadline by increasing her productivity. 

The 4- step plan that she followed could also help you achieve greater productivity and meet a deadline:
1. Write each morning– maximize the morning time
2. Regulate breaks–stick to the schedule
3. Exercise at the end of the day
4. Each evening, journal about the day’s wins and clarify the goals for the following day.

And there’s more!

My client discovered two huge, unexpected added benefits to following through on the plan. 

1.  One terrific benefit was that she felt fulfilled at the end of each day. 

Each morning, she knew what she wanted to accomplish that day.  Each evening, she could tick off what she had accomplished, and surprise, surprise—she felt fulfilled.  No remorse or guilt.  She had done the work she said she would do.  She felt content and happy at the end of the day. Fulfilled.

2.  A second terrific bonus was that even though she was writing to meet a deadline—typically, a high-anxiety time for her– her stress levels were very low. In fact, she felt a great sense of calm

She says, “I was putting in the hours. And I’d think, ‘Oh, I’m not stressed’ and the next day it would occur to me again, ‘I’m not stressed’.”

She had written toward deadlines before and had not expected that this time would be so different. The lack of stress, the feeling of calm while she was writing, and the fulfillment she felt at the end of the day were wonderful gifts. 

But well-deserved gifts.  There was no wishful or magical thinking.  She had a realistic plan, and she followed through each day.

And she is closer to getting on with her life.  Hurray!

I’d love to hear from you—what plan have you put in place that is giving you the success you want plus added benefits?

This week, as a special gift for signing up for my Smart Tips e-newsletter and to underline my hopes that you will soon be getting on with your life, I will give you a 30-minute call. Go to my website (www.nwcoaching.com) and sign up for my Smart Tips e-newsletter.


Your International Dissertation Coach

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