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You can come up with a gazillion reasons for avoiding your dissertation —too tired, too busy, too stressed, too, too, too.  And you are all of those things.

However, any reason you come up with for not getting to work on your dissertation will seem paltry when put up against the Big 3 Goals:

1. Defend your proposal;
2. Finish your dissertation;
3. Get on with your life.

Which goal is next for you?  I’d love to hear how you’re doing.

Go to my website (www.nwcoaching.com) this week to sign up for my Smart Tips e-newsletter, and 30 minutes of my time will be yours for the asking.  What’s stopping you from reaching your goal?

Looking forward to hearing about what’s between you and your goal,
Nancy
Your Dissertation Coach
nancy @ nancywhichard.com

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Where do you start on your dissertation?  The word review can start you on the following five fast tracks.

Let’s get started:

1.  Learn from your peers who are a bit farther along the road than you are—read and review carefully their dissertations.
 Even if you’ve been writing papers since you were a wee tot, or at least you may feel that way, a dissertation has its own discourse, structure, format.

How have other graduate students written their dissertations on topics similar to yours?  Learn the language by looking at models. Take notes on how other dissertations have been structured, chapter by chapter and section by section. 

2.  Review dissertations suggested by your advisor.
Since your advisor is instrumental in your successfully finishing your dissertation, ask her/him to suggest completed proposals or dissertations that you can read.  Emphasize that you want to see models for form and format.
 
3.  Review specific dissertations directed by your advisor
Even if your advisor does not mention dissertations he/she has directed, it is de rigueur, absolutely required, that you hunt them down and review them carefully. 

4. Start writing your literature review before you’re ready.
Many advisors suggest that you read widely on your topic, and as you’re reading widely, start writing.  Evaluate each source as you read it for relevance, currency, and the author’s expertise.  If the source measures up to your standards, not only should you make sure you record a complete citation, written in the style required by your discipline, but you also need to write a succinct critical note (quotation/summary) of that source. 

You’ll have a head start on your literature review from your note-taking/writing at this early stage, not just a stack of copied articles or books with yellow underlining throughout.

5.  Review one of the standards in the how-to-write-your-dissertation book genre.  

How to Complete and Survive a Doctoral Dissertation still gets good marks in this genre, even though it was published in 1981.  Read some book reviews of it and then get your own copy.  This book has put many ABD’s on the fast track.

6.  Bonus source for you to review:  Go to my website (www.nancywhichard.com).  While you’re there, sign up for my Smart Tips for Writers newsletter.  As a special gift, I’ll send you right away—no waiting—5 new success strategies.

Make this a memorable week—Get it off to a great start today!

Until next time,
Nancy

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

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Writing is easier when you’re in a good mood. 

Researchers say that if you can generate a somewhat happy frame of mind, starting your writing and sticking with it will be easier.

So what can you do to bring about a happier mood?   Listen to some music!

Music is powerful.  Research supports claims that not only can music decrease depression and improve your mood, but it can also improve focus and memory.  It has even been shown to reduce chronic pain. 

The kind of music writers prefer varies wildly.  Many writers like popular music that cranks them up—invigorates them and gets the juices flowing.

Or classical music, with expansive, stirring orchestration.

Maybe you’re like me and sometimes want music that takes you to a quiet place in your mind where you can push everything else aside.

How about old movie musicals?—do you feel a lift when you hear “Seventy-Six Trombones” from The Music Man  or “The Hills Are Alive” from The Sound of Music?

What music invigorates you, helps you focus, induces a good mood, or perhaps brings to mind that person or those people who support you in your dissertation process?

I feel a surge of happiness when I hear my favorite oldies, such as “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash.  When I hear the refrain, “Look all around, there’s nothing but blue skies/ Look straight ahead, there’s nothing but blue skies,” I feel my shoulders relax as I take in a deep breath. I feel hopeful.  You can hear Nash sing this song at You Tube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPKpmN1EJ_c

Recently I happened to see Carole King on TV singing “You’ve Got a Friend.”

For the past week, I’ve spent a few minutes almost daily at You Tube, listening to “You’ve Got a Friend” and watching snippets from different performances over the years in which Carole King sang this song that she wrote it in the ‘70s.

“You’ve Got a Friend”  reminds me of how much people matter and how important support is during the dissertation writing process.  Hearing the song puts me in a calm, centered place, and I’m ready to write.

If you haven’t heard Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” lately, here are two different versions on You Tube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_L4epGowZU&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6r1175w_lM

“You’ve Got a Friend”
Lyrics and Music: Carole King

When you’re down and troubled
And you need some loving care
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend

If the sky above you
Grows dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind begins to blow
Keep your head together
And call my name out loud
Soon you’ll hear me knocking at your door

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there

Ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend
When people can be so cold
They’ll hurt you, and desert you
And take your soul if you let them
Oh, but don’t you let them

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend

What music are you listening to?  What moves you to write?

I’d love to hear from you.  I’d also like to send you my free e-newsletter.  Please sign up at my website (www.nwcoaching.com).

Until later,

Nancy
www.nwcoaching.com
 

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