Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘flow’

Writing is easier for me when I’m in flow.  That is, when I feel some challenge in expressing the content  and producing text, but, even though challenged, I know that I have the skills that are needed.

The tricky part is getting into flow.

1.  To move into flow, write more quickly.
Until I’m in flow, I yield to distraction and look for any opportunity to make a break for it.

This is what works for me. To stick with the writing long enough to be in flow, I write as fast as I can, making odd marginal notes, getting as much down on paper as quickly as I can.  The more text, the better.  As the quantity of text mounts, it will be evident to my ole Lizard Brain that I’m not in danger. No reason to bolt. The more text I have, the more likely I am to keep at it.

2.  To move into flow, build some urgency.
If you’re like me, unless we feel that there’s some urgency surrounding our writing, we can be entirely too casual about  producing text and producing it fairly quickly.

Here’s a tip: To build some urgency, make your schedule visible. It’s easy to keep your head in the sand about deadlines or the passage of time.  To keep time relevant, put your weekly and daily goals on a White Board.  Having the daily task or goal on the board  not only gives you a visual reminder of what you have to do this week, but also allows you to erase what you have finished.

3. To produce more text, write at odd moments.
Riding the subway or train presents odd moments but often we aren’t equipped to write when we’re commuting.  One of my marvelous clients has tried to write on her laptop during her commute, but the laptop was more of an obstacle than a help.  The size and weight made it cumbersome, giving her a backache.  Determined to make use of the otherwise lost time, she bought a Netbook—one of those new lightweight, small very portable laptops.  She can carry the less-than-three-pound laptop in her bag, and its ten-inch width lets her write while she’s scrunched in a seat on the commuter train.

4.  To seize the present, remove obstacles to writing.

Are there some obstacles keeping you from writing?  Have you been ignoring your writing project?

Read my Smart Tips for Writers newsletter that will be sent out this coming Tuesday.  The main article is “The Ignored Writing Project: Six Tips to Get You Back into Action.”

All the best,

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC

Your International Dissertation and Academic Career Coach
nancy@nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com
www.dissertationbootcamp.net

Read Full Post »

Even though you may have a stated intention of working on your dissertation and making steady progress, you do everything and anything to sabotage yourself.  Could this be you?

If  this sounds familiar, read on.

A dissertation client is having great trouble moving forward.  Every week when we talk, there’s been another obstacle which has kept her from meeting the weekly goal. 

What gets in her way is that she discounts all of the success she’s had that got her to where she is now.  From what she has told me, I know that for ten years she has been moving ahead in her academic life, but she routinely discounts any academic accomplishment or even the stamina that it’s taken for her to keep on this difficult path. 

She’s doing all-or-nothing thinking. 

Because she doesn’t have her PhD, none of the work along the way matters.  She made it through her qualifying papers, made it through 3 or 4 years of courses, got her master’s, and all the time has continued to work in a demanding job.

But none of it matters. 

She understands intellectually how a person can dismiss past success, but she thinks she doesn’t dismiss it because she intellectually understands how a person could do this.  But she does it. 

She continues to distort her experience.

Without acknowledging how hard she’s worked and how that work has brought success, she makes it incredibly difficult to make steady progress toward her PhD.

Giving yourself credit for each success, no matter how small, helps you gain momentum and ultimately move into flow.  If you distort your experience, you very likely will make procrastination the usual approach to your daily work. With procrastination your first response, you waste time and energy. 

Your work is hard enough without handicapping yourself. 

How about making a list of your successes?  Want to share them?  I’d love to hear what you conveniently forget about yourself.

To your best!

Nancy
Your International Dissertation and Academic Career Coach
nancy@nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com

P.S. Read more about procrastination in my newsletter Smart Tips. Go to www.nancywhichard.com to sign up.

Read Full Post »

When I’m in line at the grocery, I read the latest celeb magazines.  If there’s an article about Tiger Woods, I’ll read about his wife and his yacht and, of course, his relationship with his father, but I’ve never been interested enough to take the time to see what are golf’s and Tiger Woods’s hold on so many people.

However, a column by New York Times writer David Brooks gives me a new perspective on Tiger Woods and also on Brooks himself.

According to Brooks, writers, in particular, “get rhapsodic” over Woods’s ability to focus, partly because “Woods seems able to mute the chatter that normal people have in their heads.”

Brooks contends that in our over-extended, overwhelmed lives, Woods is “the exemplar of mental discipline,” “stone-faced,” “locked-in, focused and self-contained,” “self-controlled.”

Woods “achieves perfect clarity, tranquility and flow.”  There!  Now I’m on board! “Flow” I understand.  In flow, he is using his top strengths and talents, but he is also being challenged.  He can be at one with his game when he is in flow, unaware and uninterested in the world about him.

Brooks, who is no slouch and obviously has been in flow many times himself, confesses that his own focus as a writer is far from perfect.

He describes his restlessness and inability to stay focused, in contrast to that of Woods’ intense focus, saying “As I’ve been trying to write this column, I’ve toggled over to check my e-mail a few times.  I’ve looked out the window. I’ve jotted down random thoughts for the paragraphs ahead.”

Brooks also suggests that his readiness to yield to distractions are fairly normal.  For sure–I prefer to check email rather than steel myself to surrendering to the writing, but I wonder what would it be like, if, like Woods seemingly has, I could silence those gremlins in my head for good and never be distracted by them.

What would it be like to step into a writing challenge and yet be perfectly calm?  To breath regularly and to hear nothing–no negative chatter rising to the deafening level of a rock-concert?   I’ve had those moments of calm focus.  I’ve been in flow when at I’m at one with my writing, and I want more of that.

What would it take to have more of the steeliness that Woods has?

What do you think?  Does Woods give us a model for mental toughness, the kind of mental toughness it takes to finish a dissertation?

I’d love to hear from you.

Here’s to flow and mental toughness,

Nancy
Your Dissertation and Academic Career Coach
nancy@nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com

Read Full Post »