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I find it interesting how determined most of us are to derail ourselves in big and small ways. We can put a lot of effort into avoiding focusing on a dissertation.

How about you? Perhaps you have developed a terrific plan and writing routine, just as has one of my dissertation clients.   If not, there’s hope. Take some cues from my client who credits his plan for his increased productivity.

My client’s plan works because it is both basic and elegant.  The plan centers on a “twice –a-day schedule.”

Butternut Cottage

Butternut Cottage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As he rides the bus to his day job, he plans what work he’ll do on his dissertation in his first session of the day. Once he’s close to his office, he finds a quiet place to work, and for about 45 minutes, he follows his plan and either writes or edits a section of his dissertation. Then he goes on to his usual place of work and puts in a full day. At day’s end, after he’s returned home and has had dinner, he puts in about 90 minutes in his second writing session.

He says that the twice-a-day schedule allows him to be more productive than if he worked a longer session once a day. The writing is never far from his mind.  He finds that he looks forward to returning to the work at the next session. And even over holidays, he tries to adhere somewhat to his plan just to keep his head in the material.

If you haven’t put a plan into action, first turn off the internet, television, and whatever else is distracting you.  Believe me, I know that finding the will to write is not easy, but you can do it. It starts with taking control and laying down the basics for yourself.

1. When will you write?  What day and what time?

2. Where will you write?

3. What will you write in that first session?

4. And when does the first session end?

5.  Rinse and repeat.

Nothing much will happen until you have a given yourself specific directions.  What is your plan?  What’s your own twist that makes the plan work for you?

Happy end of November to you.  December looks like a good month for writing, don’t you think?

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach
www.smarttipsforwriters.com
www.dissertationbootcamp.net
www.nancywhichard.com

nancy @ nancywhichard.com

 

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“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
—Aristotle

How are you doing with building your writing habit? Are you writing your dissertation?

It’s easy to play around on email or to read and even respond to blogs, but sitting down and starting a writing session is hard.  I talk every day with people engaged in serious, difficult research and analysis. Most have demanding advisors. A writing session can come with high-stakes.  Moving into it can be an intricate maneuver.

In my March newsletter of Smart Tips for Writers, I wrote about the importance of putting a routine in place. I’ve had feedback from several people, saying that they found my plan helpful.  One person said that “developing daily routines” had “helped disconnect the mental inertia,” and “writing in small sections” made “the task more manageable.”

Not only is it important to have a sequence of steps preparing you and leading you to your writing session, but it’s also important that you have a block of time that you’ve given over to the writing. Some have given a daily block of 4 hours, others give 2 hours; another person with a 1 year-old, and a 1 ½ hour commute to a major university where she teaches is committing to 15 minutes every morning before she leaves home.  However long or short the block of time, working on your dissertation during that time period must be a daily action.  Consistency.  Practice, practice, practice.

The people who joined my Dissertation Boot Camp say that establishing the writing habit has been pivotal to their moving closer to the goal of finishing their dissertation.

Do you have the habit?  Are you writing daily?   Go to my website (www.nancywhichard.com).  Check out my Dissertation Boot Camp, and sign up for my Smart Tips for Writers Newsletter.

I’d love to hear what has been instrumental to your success.  What do you have in place that is serving your goal?

Until next time,

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation and Academic Career Coach
nancy@nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com
www.dissertationbootcamp.net

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