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Sure, I felt accomplished, proud, and definitely relieved, but there was hardly the kind of euphoria or fanfare I had long imagined and anticipated. By the time I wrote the final sentences of my conclusion, working on my dissertation had become a deeply ingrained part of my weekly routine.So writing those last few sentences was, in fact, totally . And this, I think, was ultimately the secret to my success.Sometimes they might critique elements that you feel are non-negotiable, but remember it is just a dissertation.
We are often lead to believe that writing a dissertation has to be an intense, round-the-clock endeavor.
How many times have you heard the phrase or told yourself, “You should be writing?
Make sure you communicate the expectations you have of your committee and what they expect to see from you. Every day when you write, think about a specific sub chapter or section that you will be working on.
If there is a disagreement within the committee that’s for the dissertation chair to figure out — you continue writing! Do not start by saying, “And now for my next trick, I will write a 40-page chapter!
Within 10 days, you’ll see your chapter coming along.
I wrote a full draft of my humanities dissertation in a little more than a year.Taking good notes on what you read is not about simply writing down quotes or summaries, but is instead about taking notes on your own reactions to, insights about, or quarrels with what you read that can be incorporated later into structured paragraphs (instant analysis! It might also mean making a list of rhetorical strategies that are especially striking. Getting started on any given day is always the hardest part for me, so before I end a writing session for the day, I always make sure write down a few words, or phrases, or half-sentences about what I want to say next.This is a non-negotiable; nothing is worse than starting all over every day.Early on in the writing process, I made a conscious decision not to view my dissertation as an all-consuming task but as an essential part of my weekly and often daily experience.Doing so, I implemented a set of strategies that could make the work of writing manageable, efficient, and even fun and rewarding without having to give up all of the other “life” (or academic) things I wanted or needed to do.Writing a dissertation requires discipline and good work habits but it is NOT a singular measure of your academic ability. Full disclosure: This post is not meant to be a treatise on how to best finish a dissertation… Writing 200 words can also mean doing a revision, a lit review, or annotated bibliography. Every now and then when we are picking a subject or research question, our advisors tell us to think about the job market. However, really ask yourself, “Am I going to be able to obsess about this for a year?it just provides some tools that will help in getting it done! 200 words is an easy, accomplishable goal that if performed regularly, will give you close to 200 pages of written content in 8 months. ” If the answer is no, then don’t choose that topic. My dissertation was on race and comedy — something that I did during my free time as well.It feels crazy to type that and maybe even crazier to read it, because it’s fast by most standards. For one thing, I knew that even if it was complete, the work itself was still very much a draft; a lot of revisions lay ahead.The craziest thing of all, however, was that finishing the draft was totally anti-climactic. But more important, I finished without having experienced any kind of race-to-the-finish or writing up-to-the-deadline adrenaline rush.I also make revising and re-reading what I’ve done the day before a continual habit, because it helps me get back into the headspace of the previous writing day and helps me fall back into my style/voice (which is not my everyday speaking voice). Keep a Notebook (Real Or Digital) Handy Inevitably you’ll still be thinking about your dissertation when you are not writing (see tip #3).So this is for the people who have their best ideas in the shower. Despite your confidence that you will remember it later, you won’t – I’ve been there.