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Posts Tagged ‘Lizard Brain’

 March is a long month – 4 ½ weeks.   And for some people, there’s a week of Spring Vacation thrown in! Whoopy! 

What kind of plan for writing do you want for March?  Days you are going to work, the amount of time you will work,  or how much you will get done?

 

Results first

Instead of focusing primarily on the amount of time you’ll put into writing,  focus on what you want to have done by the end of March.  What would be great and absolutely astounding and slightly unrealistic to have finished by the end of March?  What do you really, really want?

Perhaps a rough draft of the specific chapter you have in front of you?  O.k., then say, “By the end of March, I will to have  _______  done [fill in the blank with the name of your specific chapter] .” Write that down.

 
What’s it going to take?

What would it take to get a rough draft finished?  What would have to happen? 

This is the place to pull up the schedules and strategies that have worked for you over the last few months.  Is it setting a time each morning when you start working, no matter what? Is it pulling out the outline?  You know you have one.  Or is it reading the prospectus and making an outline based on what you promised?  Let’s use the best approaches, the ones you know that have worked for you.    


Writing equals or exceeds research

When you start to plan your writing schedule, does your mind immediately go to how much reading and research you need to do first? 

If you think of all the research you need to do before you’ll be ready to write, give yourself a limited amount of time that you can flip through a couple of books or articles. Make the amount of time less than you think is necessary, such as an hour. 

If you give yourself an hour to do a little research, cut that hour in half.  Flip through notes or a brief bit of reading for 30 minutes, and then write for 30 minutes.  Keep yourself in check by both severely limiting the amount of research or reading you’ll allow yourself to do and requiring that writing always equals or exceeds reading/researching/fact checking.

 

To face the challenges of March, adopt a more regular sleep  pattern

Yes, sleep. 

How long has it been since you went to bed at a reasonable time (midnight or even 11 pm)? If you want to get up and use your day, then you have to get to bed at night. Are you one of those people who drink coffee all evening and then wonder why you can’t sleep when you do go to bed? To ease anxiety as well as allow you to sleep at night, slow way down on the black tea or and coffee by late afternoon. This will take some effort, but the results are worth it. To remind yourself that you’re not drinking caffeine at night, put a box of herbal tea out where you can see it.

Get in place your results-first plan for writing and move on it—it’s March!

Bonjour Mars!

All good wishes,

Nancy

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

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Writing is not for the weak of heart.  Writing is often a dangerous act, requiring all of the mental toughness and grit you can muster.

And no one knows that more than my clients—those writing dissertations and those who are now pushing on with writing their books or writing grant applications or articles.

Some of my clients feel like imposters who think they somehow got to where they are by luck.

Others are exhausted by the effort and by the stress of so much riding on this one piece of writing that they’ve become apathetic.  To protect them from the pain of feeling incompetent their Lizard Brain lets them think: “I’ve stopped caring.”

One client has who has been published in well-received journals and who has presented internationally now is writing an application for an important grant.  She’s leery of her ability both to market herself and at the same time offer the supporting evidence that would clinch the application for her.

This is the client whose wisdom has served her well. But now she needs to be five times bolder than she’s been in writing her dissertation or in sending articles to journals.

She felt unequal to the task until she recalled that she had been interviewed after making a presentation outside of the U.S.  She remembers the exuberance she felt as she was explaining her position and her research to the interviewer.  Fortunately, she has a transcript of the interview, and reading it gives her the push and mental energy she needs to move into this new task.

Similarly, a client who feels she hasn’t performed well on her dissertation has been surprised to hear that she’s been nominated for an award by her committee.  Initially, she felt like hiding, sure that her work would  reveal herself to be less capable than what they would expect. She thought of what they might say to her when they learned that she isn’t as far along with her work as she thinks she should be.   But she also knows that she has been catastrophizing.  Talking about the lack of evidence she has for any of these destructive beliefs gives her the will to pull on her inner resources of mental toughness and grit, and the will to plan strategies that will help her to get back on track and to stop with the self-sabotaging.

When talented, skilled, successful people are again and again pushed to produce, they can start to question themselves, question whether they got to where they are only by luck, whether they have what it takes to keep going.  It takes boldness and courage to keep trudging, but it also takes a willingness to be vulnerable and to trust those around them, to show work to others when the work is not the best, and to ask for help.

As one brilliant woman told me, “I have to do that thing where I feel like I’m typing with two fingers.”  Instead of turning on herself when she feels fear or uncertainty, she has to manage her feelings and keep plunking away, boldly and bravely.

Writing is scary, but there are ways to move quickly past those fears, and then to keep going.

How are you doing?

All good wishes,

Nancy

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

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