Tips for Staying on Track with your Writing

The most crucial thing is to work closely with your dissertation chair to work out a system that is mutually agreeable. Up front, establish a timeline. Find out, which committee members want to see what, and when. Keep open the lines of communication with your chair. Keep your committee updated about your progress.

GENERAL TIPS ON WRITING HABITS
Find a time-management system that works for you and stick to it (are you a morning person or a night person? during which times can you accomplish work?)
· Be very protective of your writing time. Nothing else should get in its way. Be compulsive when necessary.
· Have a work space that you can claim as your own
· Get organized (file notes, articles, and other materials so that you can find them)
· Play psychological games with yourself (If you find it intimidating to write a “dissertation,” when you sit down, just focus on one particular section or problem—don’t tell yourself “here I am writing my dissertation,” but rather say, I’m going to sit down and work through this specific problem in a brief, preliminary way)
· Cut up the “big” task into small, manageable blocks
· Use tricks to manage writer’s block—say “I’m just going to get something down on paper, no matter how bad it is”—you will always revise later

PRACTICALITIES/SURVIVAL TECHNIQUES
· Try a dissertation writing group, even if it’s long-distance. The accountability and support are terrific.
· Be good to yourself. Eat right, get some sleep, exercise, and have a life from time to time.
· Focus on finishing—it’s your ultimate goal.
· Talk to others who have been through this. Ask for their advice.
· Don’t get mired down in negativity.
· Select one or two good books or websites, and consider the advice offered there carefully. Check out the WAG blog on this site, Join #Team Get it Done, Adventures of a Dissertation Writer, Follow #phdcompletion on Twitter, Join a LinkedIn or Facebook group.

The Dissertation House

Dr. Wendy Carter-Veale and Dr. Renetta G. Tull of the PROMISE Dissertation House have been invited by the Empowering Leadership Alliance (ELA) Mentoring Program of Rice University to lead two webinars next week on preparing the proposal and the final defense.

*Proposal Writing: Monday, July 16, 10AM Pacific, 12PM Central, 1PM Eastern. Sign up for this session here by Sunday, July 15.

*The Final Defense: Tuesday, July 17, 10AM Pacific, 12PM Central, 1PM Eastern.  Sign up for this session here by Sunday, July 15.

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There will be a 5 minute overview of the topic at hand, and then the rest of the time will be devoted to responding to students’ questions.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity!  Graduate students from all schools are invited.

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About ELA: The Empowering Leadership Alliance (ELA) is a program that was launched in 2007 and is funded by NSF…

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