Posts Tagged ‘priorities’

You want to be at a good place with your writing at summer’s end?  You can absolutely do that, especially if you approach the summer with a bit of urgency and heat. 

Get a picture of yourself in your mind’s eye of you taking charge. What would your taking charge look like?

1.  See what’s the big deal about writing early each morning.  Even if you’ve always said that you’re a night person, get up early and put in a couple of hours of writing before doing anything else.  No email; no newspaper; no headlines.
2.  Cut back on night-time TV. Turn the TV off before you find yourself watching Oprah re-runs in the middle of the night.  One place in your life where you absolutely have control is clicking “off” on the remote.

3.  Know your cut-off date for research. Have that cut-off date or time in place before you ever start. Reading can go on forever. It’s a wonderful, nearly guilt-free way to procrastinate.  If you need to do a bit more research, you can slip that in later.  For now, be clear on your deadline for cutting off the research.

4.  Boldly wade into the tough parts of your diss.  What needs to be done?  Plan to start working on the parts that have given you fits, or you’ll be tempted to read the parts of your draft that you like and tweak the writing that’s already in fairly good shape. 

5.  If family should visit you this summer, still keep your head in your diss.
Give your mind something to chew on each day.  If demands take you away from writing, open your diss just to read a section or two. Check on how you referred to something in your writing.  Keep the connection to your writing fresh and alive.

6.  Let dust be your badge of courage.  Say to yourself, “I’m brave enough to put my diss ahead of cleaning.”  If you have to move your files for someone to sleep on the spare bed, fine, but don’t move your papers or files too far.  Don’t put them out of sight.  People can accommodate you.

7. What is your mid-summer reward? Tie work to reward. Plan something at mid-summer.  Whether it’s something big (3 days in Italy or Mexico) or small (an overnight camping trip or a day at the museums), put something in place that you can look forward to.  That reward is what you can lock your eyes on and work toward.

Make this summer the one that you’ll look back on with pride.  Work hard, have fun at your mid-summer reward, and then finish your summer with a bang.  Have something to show for your Summer of 2008.

What will you do to take charge this summer?  I’d love to hear from you.

Happy Summer Writing,

Nancy Whichard, PhD, PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach

P.S.   Did you sign up for Smart Tips at www.nancywhichard.com?  No?  You didn’t?  Hustle over there and sign up.

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If you’re like me, you don’t have uninterrupted time for writing.

Maybe you work full time in a demanding job or work two demanding part-time jobs or you take care of your children.

And when you get to the point when you do have time to write, you’re exhausted.  Just brain dead.

And that, of course, is the problem.  Waiting until we think we have time to write.

I work with writers from all over the world, and whether the client is in Germany or Norway or Seattle, Washington, a common problem for all, myself included, is that we procrastinate.

I can’t count the times that dissertation clients and other writers have told me that they do their best writing first thing in the morning. And I can’t tell you how many times clients have told me how they let early morning time get away from them.

Let me tell you about two people for whom writing is an important part of their jobs.

Both people procrastinate—neither is perfect.

Both have others depending on them.  Their writing matters.

One person, whom I’ll call Tom, procrastinates until it hurts—hurts him and hurts those around him.

He lets the writing back up until at times he hides out and avoids others. Or other times, he will become very engrossed in a new project, in which writing plays a smaller role.  The new project is always important and interesting.  But when the writing does not get done, there are major repercussions for himself and those around him.

The second person, whom I’ll call Tom, too, or Tom 2, is clearly anxious about the writing he needs to do.  Like Tom the first, Tom 2 is a good writer, but he also lets the writing stack up.  He has many responsibilities in his job and at home.  But somewhere along the way, Tom 2 learned to prioritize.  He learned to do the most urgent and important work early on, maybe not first, because he, too (he is Tom 2, you know), procrastinates.  But not only is he well aware that he is procrastinating, but he also feels deeply that others matter.  If he’s holding up other people, it’s obvious how bad he feels.  He often apologizes

But he doesn’t walk away from the work entirely.

You can almost see him getting up the courage and motivation (my grandmother would say he was “getting up steam”) to jump in.

He often goes to quiet places during the days he’s not required to be at work in order to make the needed commitment to the writing and to make a stab at the work

I think Tom 2 has little by little trained himself to be productive and to write even when it makes him anxious.  Being aware of his priorities gives him strength and helps him focus.   He gives himself a little slack, and then he makes a right turn directly into the messy storm of writing.

I learn a lot by watching other writers.  Writing matters and others matter.

If you learn from observing other writers (and from your own experiences), I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time!

Your International Dissertation Coach
nancy @ nancywhichard.com

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