Motivational poster for the new year of 2019

Finish Your Dissertation in 2019 Part 2: Reinforce Your Intentions

On December 28, we posted the first of four articles providing inspiration for completing your dissertation in 2019. The first article focused on setting intentions for the New Year rather than making resolutions, since resolutions often fail. In this second article of this series, we’ll present practical steps you can take to reinforce your intentions and make them a reality. WRITE DOWN YOUR INTENTIONS As suggested in the first article of this series, start by using your heart and mind to feel your way into

Silhouetted image of the year 2019, with a woman posing as the number 1

Finish Your Dissertation in 2019 Part1: Set Intentions Instead of Resolutions

It is 2019, a new year and a new opportunity to finish your dissertation once and for all (or at least get closer to the end). If you are like most students we meet, you want to be productive, focused and less apt to procrastinate this coming year. You want to be proactive, engaged and feel confident in your ability to manage the opportunity and responsibility of earning a doctoral degree. So how can you best capitalize on the energy of a new year and the

Closeup of a mug of hot chocolate next to an open notebook with a ballpoint pen resting on top, a fireplace burning brightly in the background

To Write Your Dissertation or Not During the Holidays?

THE QUANDARY: TO WRITE OR NOT TO WRITE? Every December, many of my clients have the same dilemma. Those who are teaching submit their final grades and then face a few weeks where they supposedly have more time to write. Those who work full-time jobs in the corporate sector are “off” for a few days and have the rare weekday where they are not working. This sudden change in schedule creates a quandary for many of these dissertation writers, because while on the one hand,

A small baby laying on its back on soft, fluffy fabric

Write Your Dissertation Like a Baby

Writers are often encouraged to get past writer’s block by writing very rough drafts. In my book, Finish Your Dissertation Once and For All, I referred to these rough drafts the way Anne Lamott does in Bird by Bird, as “shitty first drafts.” For years, I told my clients to practice writing “shitty’ or “crappy” first drafts. One day a client of mine said, “I’m tired of calling my work shit and crap, so instead I’m going to call my initial drafts baby drafts.” As

Woman wearing green dress and a gold bangle typing on laptop

Emailing Your Dissertation Adviser: Four Tips For A More Productive Exchange

When you started graduate school, you wanted a nurturing mentor, right? You wanted someone with whom you could discuss your deepest intellectual passions and explore your most tenuous ideas someone you could email questions when they arose, because after all, your dissertation adviser is the expert, correct? Yes and no.  By the time you’re writing your dissertation, you’re less student and more colleague. This is why your advisers will often ask to see an actual draft of a chapter or at least a substantial part

Woman in white button up shirt distressing over laptop

How To Keep Writing Your Dissertation When The World Seems Crazy

“I hadn’t really realized how much of an impact current events were having on me and my ability to keep up with my dissertation.” The words, from a beloved client, crystallized what many people have been feeling. It’s a chaotic time in the country and in the world. For some dissertation writers, it’s a frustrating time personally as well. I’ve had trouble myself focusing on writing the last few weeks, as I’ve dealt with exterminators coming into and out of my house, a plumbing emergency,

Closeup of a hand writing in a notebook with a pen

Want to Write More? Learn to Make Transitions to and from Your Dissertation

It’s 11am, and you promised yourself you would transition to your dissertation two hours ago. You have checked your email half a dozen times, had another cup of coffee, scrolled through Facebook, and read a few articles online. How many minutes did you work on your dissertation? Zero! What’s going on? Many things can be interfering with your ability to work. For one thing, you just may be having a hard time transitioning into dissertation work. All day long, we are making transitions from one