Posts Tagged ‘write daily’

Another Monday is upon us.  If you have an office job, will you drag into work, thinking of fifteen other places you would rather be, with bed high on the list?  Re-entry into the work week is hard, but re-starting your writing no matter what day of the week wins the Resilience and Determination Litmus Test hands down.

Here are three tips for restarting your writing routine: 

1.  The shorter time since you were last writing, the easier it is to begin. If you wrote yesterday and stopped at point where you weren’t totally spent, you have something more to give to the writing today.  Stick to a scheduled writing routine.

2.  Always have three key words at the ready to guide the day’s writing session.  When you end each writing session, write down at least three key words that will spark your ideas for the next writing session.  If you do that, you will have a way to move into the writing.  Then re-entry may not be so overwhelming.

3.  Starting your day with a workout or a run will recharge your brain.  Have you heard about the schools that are now using exercise within the classroom and scheduling competitive, heavy-duty exercise early each day to awaken the kids’ brains?  Dr. Charles Hillman at the University of Illinois says that exercise is “good for attention, it’s good for how fast individuals process information, and how they perform on cognitive tasks.”

In “The Happiness Project” blog, Gretchen Rubin says that when she drops her child off at day care, she could then exercise at her conveniently located gym before going to work, but she doesn’t want to waste the morning time.  It is true that the morning is the best time to write, but exercise is never a waste of time.

For a faster restart to your writing and with less foot dragging:
 1. Write daily.
2. Write three key words at the end of each writing session to jump-start the next session.
3.  Spend 30 minutes on a treadmill or in other aerobic exercise each morning.

What about you?  What’s your plan for a smart re-start to your writing?

Best to you,


Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach

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To build any significant momentum on your dissertation, you need to write every day.  It’s up to you how much you do every day, but commit to daily action and start a specific plan.

What do you need to do to get started?

1. Plan your schedule and keep it in front of you.
Use a hand-written daily calendar and make it visible—put it on a whiteboard. Know when you will settle in to work every day for a week at a time.  Check that calendar (even though it won’t change), just to make it clear to your Lizard Brain that you will be in a certain spot and at certain time. 

2. Underpromise the amount of time you will work each day.
•  Be sure that you can work for the amount of time you are committing to.  Don’t set yourself up for failure by overpromising.
•  At the end of each work session, celebrate achieving your goal.  Give yourself a pat on the back and a big smile, plus a big star on your calendar.

 3. Anticipate that you will try to sabotage your own plan
If you have a plan, will you still try to flake away?  Probably– you’re an expert on this.  How many times have you tried to start writing but still thrown “yeah, but’s” in your path. Don’t give yourself any leeway once you’ve put your schedule in place.

4. Get clear on where you slip up– Make a list of your treacherous distractions.
What have been your  preferred interruptions and diversions?  I’ve been around  master procrastinators, and I’ve done a bit of it myself.  You can’t fool a fooler.

•  Does it all start with email?
The bane of your existence, perhaps?  Too often all mischief starts with your checking an email for just a few seconds.

•  Once you surrender to Facebook, is all hope lost?
Facebookhas shown “genius in harnessing the collective procrastination of an entire planet,”  says the Washington Post. But, you knew that, right?  And then on to Youtube. Whether it’s your boss sending you links to videos or you surfing Youtube, you get hooked and time passes.

5. Earn the time for social networking.
Earn the time by showing up on time for your writing session and sticking with it.  Write. Don’t give your best time to what should be rewards.  Earn the minutes that you will spend on Facebook or email.

6. Be accountable.
Again, anticipate where you stopped short in the past.  Adding someone else to your process is a winning strategy.

You have lots of choices.  Try one or try them all:
•  Get in touch with your advisor
•  Buddy up with another writer
•  Check out a Dissertation Boot Camp
•  Hire a dissertation coach

Time to commit to daily writing:
•  Make a plan
•  Get your support system in place.

Best wishes,


Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach

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

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 Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation and Academic Career Coach

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Want to feel calm, even fulfilled, while increasing your productivity?  And meet a dissertation deadline?  Read on.

Recently, I blogged about how a client achieved greater productivity in her writing. 

She and I had collaborated over what steps would most likely yield success.  Sticking to her plan gave her the success she wanted–she met her deadline by increasing her productivity. 

The 4- step plan that she followed could also help you achieve greater productivity and meet a deadline:
1. Write each morning– maximize the morning time
2. Regulate breaks–stick to the schedule
3. Exercise at the end of the day
4. Each evening, journal about the day’s wins and clarify the goals for the following day.

And there’s more!

My client discovered two huge, unexpected added benefits to following through on the plan. 

1.  One terrific benefit was that she felt fulfilled at the end of each day. 

Each morning, she knew what she wanted to accomplish that day.  Each evening, she could tick off what she had accomplished, and surprise, surprise—she felt fulfilled.  No remorse or guilt.  She had done the work she said she would do.  She felt content and happy at the end of the day. Fulfilled.

2.  A second terrific bonus was that even though she was writing to meet a deadline—typically, a high-anxiety time for her– her stress levels were very low. In fact, she felt a great sense of calm

She says, “I was putting in the hours. And I’d think, ‘Oh, I’m not stressed’ and the next day it would occur to me again, ‘I’m not stressed’.”

She had written toward deadlines before and had not expected that this time would be so different. The lack of stress, the feeling of calm while she was writing, and the fulfillment she felt at the end of the day were wonderful gifts. 

But well-deserved gifts.  There was no wishful or magical thinking.  She had a realistic plan, and she followed through each day.

And she is closer to getting on with her life.  Hurray!

I’d love to hear from you—what plan have you put in place that is giving you the success you want plus added benefits?

This week, as a special gift for signing up for my Smart Tips e-newsletter and to underline my hopes that you will soon be getting on with your life, I will give you a 30-minute call. Go to my website (www.nwcoaching.com) and sign up for my Smart Tips e-newsletter.


Your International Dissertation Coach

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