Michigan’s Dissertation Writing Retreat Blog

Kellog

Welcome to your virtual Dissertation House and Writing Retreat

Congratulations on making it to the Dissertation Writing Retreat (DWR).

In the era of Covid 19 where we are all at home possibly sheltering in place, we
still have goals that we want to accomplish. With the COVID-19 coronavirus
wreaking havoc across the world, for instance PhD completion provides
universities with the opportunity to participate in a virtual Dissertation Writing
Retreat. As part of Dr. Carter’s Thesis and Dissertation Accomplished (TADA!)
program and the Dissertation House at University of Maryland, Baltimore
County (UMBC), we have always had an online component for graduate students across the
globe who could not participate face to face.

The focus is the same: The Dissertation Writing Retreat activities focus on
places where students typically have problems: conceptualizing a topic,
developing a pre-proposal, writing a literature review, writing a proposal,
analyzing data, writing the last chapter, and editing.


The purpose is the same: The program is designed for doctoral students who
are writing their dissertation proposals, first dissertation chapters, or who have
found their writing progress stalled, or who desire expert guidance and the
opportunity to join a community of dissertation writers.


The commitment is the same: Students accepted to the Dissertation Writing
Retreat will commit to attending a writing session from 8 a.m.-6:00 p.m.,
Monday-Wednesday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday. See below for detailed daily
agenda.

To participate, you will be asks to blog twice daily at the start of the day and the end of the day. On the first day you will be asked to posts answers to the following questions:

  1. What will you work on?
  2. How much time will you spend daily working on it?
  3. Tell us how much progress you are making, or problems you are having.
  4. At the end of everyday plan what you want to accomplish the following day

Ready, Set, Go… You can tweet your participation with #phdcompletion

214 thoughts on “Michigan’s Dissertation Writing Retreat Blog

  1. Day 1 starts on Monday are you ready? Be prepared. Working from home is different. You want different results you have to be willing to do things differently. You know it and I know it. What will you have to put in place to make this Dissertation Writing Retreat work starting at 8 a.m. on Monday, May 10, 2020?
    Will you need to have a conversation with your spouse, partner, children, care-takers?
    What room will you be working in?
    How will you manage your distractions?
    Keep it real, can you commit to 4 days with 3 check-in times and posting on-line? Join Us.

    Like

  2. Hi everyone! I hope this is the right place to introduce ourselves. I’m a doctoral student in History at U-Michigan. I’m a father of two and also teach community college full-time.

    My dissertation focuses on the recent history of Latinxs in Chicago’s suburbs, 1980-present.

    Looking forward to meeting everyone!

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    1. Hello Antonio

      Welcome to the Virtual Dissertation Retreat. You are in the right place. I look forward to meeting you tomorrow. Enjoy your weekend and plan for working on your dissertation on Monday.

      Like

  3. Hello everyone,

    I am ALMOST there, PhD candidate, soon to be PhD holder. I am now working on the last piece of my dissertation. My struggles these days are being focused and committed in writing. I even can’t count or know if we are during weekdays or weekend. It all feels the same Θ︹Θ. I am glad I will be a part of this writing retreat and hoping to make significant progress in my dissertation journey. My plan is addressing reviewers feedback on a manuscript. I already started with very straightforward reviews and will start addressing reviews relating to each section of the paper.

    Stay healthy and productive!

    Like

    1. Hello WasAshPhD
      Glad to see that you took me up on my recommendation. I look forward to your daily participation. I expect to see some goals tomorrow. Dr. CV

      Like

    2. How are you staying healthy?

      Like

  4. Hi all! I’m Peggy, doctoral candidate in American Culture at UMich. I’ll be joining from Philly where I’m doing a year-long fellowship. I struggle with motivation and focus as well; I think these feelings are also exacerbated by a sense of isolation being in a new city and campus community post-Rona. My goals are to work on the introduction and begin revising the newest (hot mess) chapter I drafted. My dissertation examines contemporary Asian/American literature and performance art. Look forward to focusing together and learning some new tools!

    Like

    1. Hello Peggy
      Welcome to the Virtual DWR. You’re in the right spot. I am looking forward to meeting you on Monday. Happy Mother’s Day if you are a mother. Dr. CV

      Like

    2. Is this the UPenn predoc? In any case, congrats! I tried to apply for the postdoc version at UPenn for this academic year, but didn’t get it. If I had received it or any other postdoc, I would have rushed to defend earlier. Since I didn’t, I’m still here! :/

      Like

  5. Hello Everyone and welcome to the Virtual Writing Retreat! Excited to join you on this journey.

    Like

  6. Hello Everyone, I am Dr. Lenisa Joseph and will be providing administrative support along with the rest of the AWESOME team to help you make significant advances toward your completion date. Success comes with proper prior planning. Do what you need to now…today…. so that you can get all that is possible during the virtual writing retreat. See you tomorrow Gw.

    Like

    1. You made it. Welcome, Dr. Joseph. Thank you for joining us for the upcoming week. I appreciate your help in so many ways. This event could not be done without your input. Have a great day.

      Like

    2. It was nice meeting you today, Dr. Joseph! Looking forward to interacting with you more.

      Like

  7. Hi everyone! I am looking forward to participating in the writing retreat. I am a Master’s student from Western Michigan University who is planning to graduate by the end of July. My focus during the retreat will be on completing a couple chapters. The background portions of each are strong and well-rounded but my words falter when it comes to describing my results. Well use this as a time to build good habits on focus and motivation.

    Like

    1. Welcome BlueGene

      I am looking forward to meeting your early in the am. Good for you for taking a step forward with your dissertation. Have a great day.

      Like

  8. Hi everyone! I’m Joseph, and I’m a PhD candidate in Film, TV, and Media at the University of Michigan. I’m currently working on the fourth chapter of my dissertation on community media projects in the 1980s–the current chapter I’m in the middle of right now is on the Atlanta public access TV program called The American Music Show. I also started the introduction to my dissertation recently, though I’ve felt like I’m swimming in unfocused, unbounded time recently and have had an array of issues with motivation (a sign of the times). I’m looking forward to having the chance to articulate and to work toward goals that will help me get closer to the finish line (of at least this current chapter). See you tomorrow.

    Like

    1. Thanks for spending the day with us. Joseph. I look forward to speaking with you again our time was way too short. If the prose is not flowing create a “Zombie list of activities and work from the list.” 1. formatting, reference style checking, cover page, acknowledgment page, abstract, copyright page, …. see you in the morning.

      Like

  9. Hello Everyone,
    I am a fourth year doctoral student in the counseling psychology program at WMU. I am currently working on the first 3 chapters of my dissertation proposal. I have a draft of chapters 2 and 3, both need revisions and to be more specific and detailed. I am working to have my literature review read more like a dissertation instead of a” term paper.” I am currently changing the design of my study, and will need to develop a SEM model, along with new research questions and hypotheses. I am looking forward to getting to know each of you and supporting one another throughout this process!

    Like

    1. Hello DLA2022 Thank you for joining us. Good Luck on your SEM. The UCLA website is good for statistics.
      https://stats.idre.ucla.edu/stata/faq/how-can-i-do-mediation-analysis-with-the-sem-command/

      Like

  10. Good morning everyone,

    I hope you all had a great weekend and ready for productive week!
    My plan for Today is addressing reviews on a manuscript relating to analysis results section.

    *Pleas note that I may check-in around this time or earlier and check-out later in the evening for accommodating my Ramadan routine.

    Like

    1. How you had a great weekend as well. Great of you to blog in. Does the holy observance prevent you from participating during the day?

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      1. Hello WasAshPhD

        I was expecting to see those goals posted here this morning. Can you make that happen?

        Like

      2. Checking out.. I was able to address some of the feedback in regards to the analysis results by improving the clarity of the statements and providing more complete F statistic values.

        Like

      3. Thanks for finally making it over here and posting your updates. Seems like you are making some forward progress. Good for you

        Like

  11. Hello everyone! I am Rebecca Tuinstra, doctoral candidate in Counseling Psychology at Western Michigan University . I will be participating in this workshop from home in Sparta, MI. My main struggles are motivation and minimal knowledge regarding research writing. I hope to finish all of the edits my committee gave me for my research proposal. My dissertation will focus on the affect completion of a multicultural counseling course has on awareness of ethnic identity and color-blind ideologies.

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    1. Welcome Rebecca! Commit to the Goal and it is done.

      Like

  12. Hi everyone, I’m Cheryl and I’m an Nth year in linguistic anthropology PhD candidate in the anthropology department. My dissertation is on honorific registers in Khmer (Cambodian) and how it is changing due to current changes in the social, economic, and political landscape. I plan to spend a few at least 4 hours daily working on it. I’ve written 3 dissertation chapter drafts, but they will need to be reframed significantly. I was going to work on reading about patron-client relationships in Cambodia, but Dr. Carter-Veale suggested I work on my chapter outlines. I keep running into analytical issues: I see something strange or interesting going on in the language or in Cambodian society, but I can’t figure out WHY it’s happening. Or, I think I see some some overall patterns, but I also find counter-examples or contradictions, which makes me nervous to make generalizations.

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    1. Cheryl think about what would you write if you weren’t afraid of being wrong? Write that first and then decide later if you will share it with someone else. You have learned a lot; trust that you have learned something and you have a perspective that is worth sharing.

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      1. Thank you, Dr. Carter-Veale! See you tomorrow! 🙂

        Like

      2. Cheryl, See you in the morning. Thank you for spending the day with us.

        Like

  13. Blog in (Day 1)
    Goal for today is to work through edits from advisor on chapter 2.

    Like

    1. Hello BlueGenes

      Try organizing your edits into 3 categories of Easy, Medium, Difficult rather than going page by page. Start with the easy edits the move on to the medium, then to difficult. It will move faster that way.

      Like

    2. Blog out (Day 1)
      Successfully achieved today’s goal of completing edits on chapter 3 (accidentally said 2 before). Actually plan to send off to advisors this evening for feedback.

      Things learned today: that a good thesis is a done thesis, only a handful of people are actually going to read my thesis front to back, and that creating a consistent space and time to write will absolutely increase productivity.

      Tomorrow’s goal: organize my stream of thought pages into a recognizable chapter 4 introduction and (if the words are really flowing) results.

      Like

      1. BlueGenes I liked your synopsis of Day 1. Good to see you have a plan for day 2. Thanks for spending the day with us.

        Like

  14. Black Girl PhD'ing May 11, 2020 — 6:07 pm

    Hello Everyone!

    I’m excited to be here. I’m completing my 6th year and in the final months of my dissertation. Here are my goals for today.

    Mon 5/11
    
Continuing reading through FChp II and aligning content with outline
    
Continuing reading through FChp II and aligning content with outline

    Like

    1. Hello, Black Girl PhD’ing Thank you for spending the day with us. What are your goals for tomorrow and how much were you able to accomplish today?

      Like

  15. Hi Team,
    Great start to the day so far. My favorite part was the Literature Review. My goal for this week is to complete a full 1st (rough) draft of my proposal – 1st three chapters. Since hearing the lit review portion of today, I have a new goal for today and tomorrow to convert my lit review into the excel worksheet. After that, I would like to draft a road map of the story that the literature is telling me.

    A question that I have for Dr. CV is do you have any recommendations for how we should spend our time during the “waiting for feedback from the committee” periods?

    Like

    1. Dr. Ya

      Welcome to the DH retreat. You really don’t have time to wait. You should move on to the next chapter while your/advisor is reading. You should be giving him/her when he/she is giving you one back. Keep moving forward.

      Like

  16. Hello everyone,
    My name is Shadi Adineh. This is a great start. My goal for this week is to work on the literature review and make an excel for it. So the first step is to read 5 articles and dissect them into the excel.

    Like

    1. Abtin2017 Sounds like a plan and love the specificity of it. Thanks for spending the day with us.

      Like

  17. Hi everyone! Blogging in late! I’m so glad to be here. Dr. CV has been amazing! I’m in my 8th year of my PhD. It’s older than my last nephew-son! Time to get done. My dissertation is focused on cardiac electrophysiology and treatment outcomes along racial and gender lines. My goal is to complete chapter 5 and get a good handle on chapter 4. I tentatively plan to defend Fall 2020 🙌🏾 My goal is to complete all writing by 7/1/2020. That’ll be an Independence Day celebration of another kind!

    Like

    1. Nicole Thank you for posting your goal here. I see that Google says that 7/1/2020 is 51 days from today. I hope that sleeping 8 hours is not on your to-do list for the near future. Expect to get a good night’s rest 7/2/2020.

      Like

      1. Nope 👎🏽!!! Lol!!!

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  18. This is where I left off: I went through the suggested edits by my committee for my proposal and made edits to the literature review. Most were just clarifying edits or asking me to expand.

    This is what I’m planning on doing tomorrow: Tomorrow, I want to start and finish working on the edits suggested for research questions and hypotheses. And I want to at least start on the method section edits.

    Like

    1. Rebecca, I am looking forward to our 1 on 1. Thank you for spending the day with us.

      Like

  19. Today was a good start to the retreat for me. I made progress on a couple of the goals I wrote down this morning. I edited the start of my chapter (introduction and first section); I worked in more material throughout the chapter from an interview I conducted back in November 2019; and I read and took notes on an article that will be one of the two major pieces I will use for the framework for this chapter. Tomorrow morning I will focus on editing for organizational clarity. In the afternoon I will decide where to build in textual analysis of the show I’m writing about.

    Like

  20. Blogging out 5/11/2020:
    Dr. Carter-Veale asked me to outline my dissertation chapters. I’ve already written 3 chapters (Chapters 1-3), but they need to be reframed because they’re not polished,the arguments aren’t clear, and the chapters don’t cohere with one another or interrelate with each other yet. I’ve started writing Chapters 4 and 5, but have not completed.
    My goals today were to outline each chapter and then re-outline them. This is taking a lot of time because 1) my sub-headings in my chapter suck… I’m so bad with titles; they’re more placeholders for me, and 2) I’m still not 100% sure what I want argue in each chapter so, imagining where I want the chapter to go, even in outline form, is difficult. In addition to the outline, I also wrote out my thought-process in the old draft (why I wrote it that way) and then I also wrote out my thought-process for where I think I want to go when I re-write/re-frame the chapter. Again, because I’m doing qualitative, ethnographic work, my arguments usually emerge after I write my chapters and see things laid out, which is why starting out with an outline first is hard for me because I don’t know where my data is taking me just yet.
    I outlined Chapter 1 (what the subheadings were before) and then I tried to outline what I think I want Chapter 1 to look like in the revision [this chapter is the hardest so I skipped the later part]
    I outlined Chapter 2 (what the subheadings were before) and then I tried to outline what I think I want Chapter 2 to look like in the revision
    Tomorrow, I’m going to continue this for Chapter 3, which is already written/drafted (similarly to Chapters 1-2). If I have time, I might start on Chapter 4, but because I’ve only written 20-25% of it, most of my outlining is going to be imaginative of what I think it’s going to look like.

    Like

  21. Ugh, I wrote a whole thing out, but I don’t see it posted (maybe I forgot to post my email address and name before posting so it won’t allow it to post) 😦
    Blog out: 5/11/2020
    Dr. Carter-Veale asked me to outline the dissertation drafts I’ve already written and to outline the dissertation drafts that have not been fully drafted yet. I’ve written 3 full chapter drafts (Chapters 1, 2, and 3) and I have started the last 2 dissertation chapters (Chapters 4 and 5). Even though I have 3 dissertation chapter drafts, the arguments are not clear, I’m very bad at titles and titles for subheadings so they are more place holders or places to separate thought, and the chapters do not cohere or speak to one another. I need to reframe the chapters significantly.
    I outlined Chapters 1-2 based on what it looks like now and what I think I want it to look like next. My issue is that I am dealing with ethnographic, qualitative data, I don’t know what my argument is until I’ve written my chapter. In addition to outline what I currently have and what I envision when I revise the chapter, I also wrote out my thought-process for why I wrote it the way I did, and how I might rewrite it later. Chapter 1 is giving the most problems because I’m still not sure what I want to argue in that chapter.
    Tomorrow, I’m going to try to outline and re-outline Chapter (as I did for Chapters 1-2). If I have time, I’ll start to outline Chapter 4, but because it’s not drafted yet and because I’m not quite sure what my argument for Chapter 4 is going to be, I know I’m going to get stuck. Since I’m dealing with qualitative, ethnographic data, sometimes I can’t see my data until I’ve written things out and start to see some patterns or interesting things emerge. This is why outlining before I write is very difficult for me.

    Like

    1. The first time you post we have to approve it. I was in a 1-on-1 so I couldn’t approve it at the same time. I just did below.

      Like

    2. Cheryl, thanks for reposting and I am glad to see that you have a real plan. An outline helps the writer to color within the lines. You can always come back to chapter 1. Get the outlines for 2-4 then complete 1 at the end. Thank you for willing to try something new outside your comfort zone. They say if we always do what we always did we will always get the same results. See you in the morning.

      Like

    3. Black Girl PhD'ing May 12, 2020 — 2:14 am

      Cheryl, we live in the same world! Thank you for posting. You are not alone! – Kim “BlackGirl PhD’ing”

      Like

  22. Today I left off completing edits to section 1 and 2 of my literature. I also began addressing edits for section of 3 my literature review (stealing suggestions Dr. CV. gave to someone else and started with the medium edits).
    Tomorrow I am planning to complete edits on section 3 of my literature review!

    Like

    1. Anonymous, Good for you; glad to see that you are reading the blog. No need to “steal” what belongs to you. This blog is your resource tool to use for you. Why? because “it all about you”. Take what you need to finish your dissertation.

      Like

  23. Hello Everyone, I am looking forward to day 2. If the plan for day 1 worked stick with it until day 4. If it needs to be tweaked somehow, tweak it. If you need a brand spanking new plan, create one from scratch but now at least you know what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to fail, there are lessons to be learned in the failure.

    A shoutout to the “perfectionists in the group”:
    Feedback gets you closer to a PhD., holding on to the document doesn’t.
    The P in Ph.D. is not for “Perfection.”

    To the entire group:
    You’re not building a BMW with your dissertation, you’re building an operable Ford. Just saying.

    Like

  24. Black Girl PhD'ing May 12, 2020 — 2:19 am

    My goals for tomorrow are to continue to work on my findings chp II. Specifically, I will write out 2 portraits/ and analysis of my data. I also will try to stay in my chair in 25 minute stretches with 5 minute breaks.

    Today was great, but it was more outlining and organizing than writing. I think I fit that “perfectionist” description. I find myself writing three words – erasing two – writing a sentence, erasing it. I have writing whiplash and I don’t know how to cure it. I’m frustrated and feel like there is some magical key I need (some process, some routine, some magical rubric) to help me figure out how to move smoothly through my writing.

    I’m not a good freewriter. I get super frustrated, but I feel like freewriting is probably the very thing I need to do to move things forward. I tried this evening and failed. Every sentence felt wrong and needed to be tweaked in the moment. Not sure how to stop this! I’m going to bed frustrated and optimistic.

    See you all tomorrow!

    Like

    1. Hello Black Girl PhD’ing

      Try what we call raw drafting. Pick a section you want to write. Set the timer for 10-15 minutes. And just write without editing, without hitting backspace, delete. If you need to turn off your monitor and just type straight without stopping for 10 minutes. See how far you get, then go back at the end of the 10 minutes and take out the grocery list if that came into your head when you were typing. Type whatever comes to mind for the duration of the time. If you don’t know a citation put in bracket [LOOK UP LATER] and keep going. We are better editors than first drafters, and to become better writers you need to be willing to write the ugly draft. Write today, edit tomorrow. These activities all don’t have to be done in the same time frame.

      Like

      1. Black Girl PhD'ing May 12, 2020 — 2:49 pm

        Thank you, Dr. Wendy, I’m going to try this!

        Like

  25. (Tuesday) Checking in …

    Yesterday was productive but I noticed that I overestimated what I was planning to do. Because I had to go back for the results and run R code to incorporate some values, I spent quite some time figuring things out. I am glad I was able to put everything together at this moment. I will come back to this section later after going through introduction and methodology.

    My plan for today is working on feedback relating to the introduction section and specifically improving the *motivation* of the research and rewriting the *research questions*. I may also go over some feedback relating to the methodology section. I get to be more explicit about stating which are DVs and IDv.

    I am encouraged to see everyone updates and PROGRESS!!

    All the best!

    Like

    1. Good Morning WagAshPhD thanks for the update and Welcome to Day 2 of the Virtual Dissertation Writing Retreat.

      Like

      1. (Tuesday) Checking out …

        I updated introduction in term of motivation and research questions. I am ready to move on and work in methodology.

        Like

      2. Keep moving forward WagAshPhD good to see your daily progress.

        Like

  26. Today (Tuesday) my goal is to add 2-3 pages to Chapter 2 of my dissertation.

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  27. Good morning everyone! Let’s do this!!!!

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  28. Good Morning!

    Looking forward to day 2! Today, I am planning to work on section 3 of my literature review . This section is rough and needs to read more like a dissertation and less like a term paper. I need to critique studies and develop more of a foundation for this section. Feels a bit overwhelming, but I am taking Dr. CV’s advice and addressing these studies only in relation to how they fit with my own! “Studies, findings, critiques! Did they answer your question or not?”

    Last night, I forgot to post my name and email during blog out!

    Like

  29. Second day check-in: Today, I’ll continue working on my dissertation intro. I want to reach a 2-3 page goal. I’m hoping it’ll be easier to do now that I’m “back in it” again. I spent time yesterday get reacquainted with the 6 pages I wrote weeks ago as well as the articles/texts I bookmarked that are to come as I advanced the draft. I found meditating for 15 minutes in the middle of the day super helpful when I found myself getting anxious about not writing fast enough. I recommend InsightTimer. Anyways, will continue to work on staying present with each word and breath. Good job, everyone!

    Like

  30. Good morning! I’m ready to continue outline my dissertation chapters to figure out out to revise ones I’ve written and how to continue drafting the ones I haven’t. But today, I think I’ll get to two chapters.

    Like

  31. Rebecca L Tuinstra May 12, 2020 — 12:02 pm

    On day 2 I plan on powering through the edits that I need to make to my proposal. I would also like to spend a little bit of time reaching out to individuals that may be able to help with edits and working with the excel sheet.

    Like

    1. Hello, Rebecca Welcome to Day 2. You seem to have a good plan; I look forward to our 1 on 1 today. We can cover the excel sheet in our time together.

      Like

  32. Hi everyone – My goal for today is mainly to edit the introduction of my current chapter.

    Like

  33. Blog In – Day 2
    Today’s goal is to start organizing the background portion of Chapter 4.
    Easy – process images
    Medium – stream of thought writing
    Hard – proper wording and organization of paragraphs

    Like

    1. Blog out (Day 2)

      Was able to complete half of the background portion of Chapter 4 which is taking more time than expected but I feel good about the quality of work I have produced.

      Tomorrow’s goal is to finish the background section of Chapter 4 and go over final edits of Chapter 3 (which my advisor says is pretty much done!). Second goal is to keep this flow of words going.

      Like

      1. BlueGenes
        Day 3 of the retreat has your name on it and Chapter 4’s Background. Go go go….Sometimes we can write and go back and work just mainly looking at the transitional paragraphs. Write freely one day and edit another.

        Like

  34. Today, I’m hoping to get into a good stride with literature review and get at least one folder of articles inserted into the excel document.

    Like

  35. Black Girl PhD'ing May 12, 2020 — 1:36 pm

    Hello Dissertation Writers! I’m just going to post my ‘notes to self’ last night and then how I am feeling this morning. I think the “theme” is struggling with writing a thematic portrait followed by my analysis. Note – I’m using Sara Lawrence Lightfoot’s ‘portraiture’ to write up my diss. I work with oral histories and material objects.

    Notes last night (5/11) for my 5/12 writing prep *Feeling super frustrated. As I write, I write 5 words, then erase three! Ugh. After doing that for about an hour, I wrote these notes to think about where to start the next day (5/12).

    * – Review SLL a bit, just to get my baring on how to lay this out.
    * – Do I need to outline Mary’s story in order to tell it. Ugh!
    * – Or listen to this part of the transcript again to give me some direction – the tone, the aura.
    * – Set a timer and write for 30 minutes or so nonstop, no corrections.
    This morning.
    Read through my writing.
    Feeling much better, and not sure if I need to do the things I laid out above.
    Now, after reading through my 1 1/2 pages written last night (well, really dropped and plopped), I think I needed to step away and come back to it.
    This morning I see the story and how I was beginning to analyze within the story instead of continuing to just tell the story providing my voice as the researcher along the way. My voice serves to describe (1) what is happening in the interview as Mary is telling her story; (2) provide any nuanced understanding — her tone, inflections, physical movements — that would add meaning, depth to what she is sharing; (3) any experiences I have had in the field that could support (or contrast) her memories of her childhood experience (I.e. ‘woods woods woods’ near her home; although it’s no longer the 1950s, I have seen those woods, and they are vast and would be frightening to a child who is much smaller — the woods were frightening to me! Beautiful but also very mysterious and provoked feelings of imminent danger.

    – Kim

    Like

  36. Black Girl PhD'ing May 12, 2020 — 1:39 pm

    Goal for today is to write two portraits & analysis (Mary and John Jr.).

    Like

  37. My goals for today are to better understand how I will be analyzing my data and to complete the tables necessary to display it in a clear and concise way. My meeting with Dr. CV really opened my eyes to large errors in what I thought was appropriate analysis. This is a huge hurdle for me but I plan to make it over.

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  38. Hi everyone,

    Yesterday I worked on processing an oral history and timing it (took my almost 2x as long as I thought it would!); I read two chapters from the dissertation of a scholar whose work I admire (Dr. CV she’s not too far from you, at UM-College Park: Perla Guerrero); and am making plans to start a new chapter.

    I have a question for everyone, though: Who Reads Your Drafts?

    Does anyone have a good writing or accountability group that is working well? Do fellow grad students read your work? Friends? Professors? Other people?

    I’ve been away from campus for several years and am not super connected with other students in my cohort or the profs on campus so I’d like to get better at having other people edit my work.

    Good luck this week everyone!

    Like

    1. Thank you Antonio for posting to the blog much appreciated.

      Like

    2. Hey Antonio, you’re at UM, right? I’ve been part of Sweetland’s Dissertation Writing Groups, where they match you into an interdisciplinary group and you should meet every couple of weeks to share and read each other’s chapter drafts. Sweetland also has a Dissertation courses (mostly winter term) where they pair you up and give you some accountability to share drafts and read each other’s work. It’s been interesting having non-anthropology people give me their take on my own work.
      I’ve joined various Slack and Discord groups online where people give each other accountability to work together virtually (similar to how we’re doing if we’re all signed on with Zoom and working at the same time), but for some reason it never sticks because I don’t enjoy virtual co-working.
      Does the history department have workshops/courses to share your work? Anthropology has “labs,” where professors and students can sign up to share works-in-progress with other peers and faculty.
      Hope these ideas help!

      Cheryl

      Like

      1. Thank you Cheryl. I will look into these suggestions. I think Sweetland and the courses require you to be on campus and I live out of state, but I’ll look again to see if I can participate remotely. I’ve been working on getting more connected in Chicago and my first seminar presentation was scheduled for March 13, which ended up being the first day everything fell apart! 🙂 Gotta keep trying!

        Like

      2. Antonio Good to see you using the blog to reach out. Good luck on Day 3 of the Writing Retreat

        Like

    3. Black Girl PhD'ing May 12, 2020 — 10:33 pm

      My friends and I sometimes read one another’s work. I ended up hiring someone to do it. But it has been great to bounce things off of friends — usually it’s only a section or a particular paragraph.

      Like

      1. Thanks, I’ll have to work on doing this too. Even for short sections. Great suggestion.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. True it’s difficult especially if you are worried about burdening your friends. That’s what editors are for. If you can afford it. Retired English Teachers are also looking to help too.

        Like

  39. I plan to have 2 fried lobster tails with chicken and shrimp Alfredo pasta.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Hello Everyone,

    Today I accomplished making revisions to 4.5 of 9 pages for section 3 of my literature review. This section of my lit review is a whole hot mess, but i’m working to get it together. I am going to push myself to continue working tonight and complete the remaining edits.

    Looking forward to reading what you all have accomplished!

    Like

    1. Blogging out: I got some good writing done today based on some great suggestions from Dr. CV, who said I should look at the structure of my previous chapters and repeat that structure in upcoming chapters. Very simple suggestion that had never occurred to me, and helped me save lots of time and overthinking. Tomorrow I’m going to continue writing that same historiographical section on my newest chapter.

      Like

  41. I did meet my goal of getting articles into the spreadsheet, however, I haven’t figured out a good system to translate that information into writing. So for now, I’m going to focus on writing because I’m very eager to get words on paper so that I can turn in a draft of my proposal.

    Like

  42. By the way… These days are FLYING BY ridiculously FAST!!! Where is the time going??? We’re already on Day 3!

    Liked by 2 people

  43. Tasia C Bryson May 12, 2020 — 9:09 pm

    Greetings!

    Yesterday, I started writing my chapter 1.

    Today, I added to my chapter 1 and think I will be finished by tonight

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good Morning Tasia

      Welcome to day 3 of the DWR. Did you get Chapter 1 done? Keep moving forward.

      Like

  44. Day 2: Today, I completed 3 pages of my current chapter. (Yesterday, I completed 3. So now I have a total of 6 pages done! Yay!) This is probably (and shamefully) the most productive I’ve been in 2 weeks. Today, Dr. Wendy helped me to really conceptualize my goal and set a date for the completion of my dissertation. I created a zombie list for this week, which consists of making beautiful figures in PowerPoint for this chapter. Tonight, I will do some zombie things until my eyes can no longer stay open. In the morning, I will re-assess today’s progress. My goal tomorrow is to add 3 more pages to the same chapter!

    -Dr.66Days

    Like

    1. Good Morning Christian Day 3 of the Dissertation Writing Retreat and Day 65 for you. Tick tock! Sounds like a plan doing those Zombie activities when you are tired.

      Like

  45. Blogging out for 12 May 2020: I made slow but good progress today. I worked toward my goals of editing the introduction to my current chapter in the morning, and then in the afternoon I added material from an interview I did back in 2019. I even had a couple more audio files to transcribe, so I started working on those. Tomorrow morning I’m going to jump back in with editing and organizing some of the rougher middle parts of my chapter–I think maybe I’ll outline and figure out where to put what I have already written.

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    1. |Good Morning Joseph Welcome to Day 3. I see your plan for today and it sounds like a good one.

      Like

  46. Day 2 Blog out:
    I accomplished pulling out the headings from my Chapter 3 draft into an outline as well as re-outlining Chapter 3 to where I think I want it to go. I’m stuck on the ordering of some sections should go because I can see them fitting in several different ways (should the language info come before the background/history info or after the background/historical info?).
    I started outlining Chapter 4, which is a chapter I haven’t completed drafting (I only had about 8 pages written) so it was difficult. I did outline the headings I had so far, but then I got stuck moving forward because I’m still not sure where I want to the chapter to go. I also started looking up my data and re-remembering what data I have that can fit into this chapter. Since the chapter is about language in the media and social media, I have a lot of images and screenshots of people talking on Facebook.
    So I left off re-outlining Chapter 4. I’ll try to complete this either tonight or tomorrow morning as I also think about what direction I want this chapter to go. Or, I can skip completing this chapter for now and also try to do the same with Chapter 5.

    Like

    1. Black Girl PhD'ing May 12, 2020 — 10:35 pm

      Kodos to you for being able to work on more than one chapter at once! It’s so hard for me to do. Still trying…

      Like

    2. Cheryl
      On the first day, we talked about ” a good dissertation is a done dissertation”. About 10 people will read it. I will need revisions after you and your advisor settle on it and then after you defend you will get more revisions from the committee members. There is no right or wrong way to organize this. What happens if you organize it in one direction. Let your advisor take a look at the one direction. Get feedback and he/or she helps you. You both settle on it and you move on from there. The going back and forth doesn’t mean the one you settled on is the final one it means it is the final one you decide to share with your advisor. The life of an academic is to draft, write, revise, & resubmit, revise, & resubmit. Notice the resubmit part of it. It is not revise, get it perfect & published. Stop stepping on the brakes ever 5 minutes, this is a long road. With an outline, we are just asking you to plan out the route to your final destination with the knowledge that there are many routes to the same destination.

      Like

  47. Day 2 check-out: This morning, was in a good writing groove until I had to stop and switch to paper (eye issues). I drafted my zombie goals and thought of all the little tasks I can get done when I don’t feel like writing (there are many, like captioning/dating my images correctly). Tomorrow, I plan to spend the morning on the intro and then switch over to Chapter One edits in the afternoon. My goals are to write 2 pages and increase Chapter One’s “done-ness” status to 100% through revisions (currently at 80%).

    Like

  48. Black Girl PhD'ing May 12, 2020 — 10:37 pm

    Kim blogging out:
    – Today went pretty well. Slower than I wanted, but I was able to draft one full portrait along with a rubric that will allow me to draft future portraits and analysis in a more systematic way. I’m hoping this will speed me along in future sections and chapters.

    – I need to finish by July 31st. Yikes!!!!

    Like

    1. Black Girl PhD'ing May 12, 2020 — 10:38 pm

      Kim blogging out part II: I forgot to state my intentions for tomorrow.

      I will follow my plan, which is to complete more portraits. I’m setting a goal of two portraits.
      I am going to push through tonight and try to finish the portraits I’d planned to complete today.
      I did take a break — watched “Insecure”. Now, I’m back at my desk. 🙂

      Like

    2. Black Girl PhD’ing

      July 31st is 79 days away…. you’re taking a step in the right direction. Glad to see you got a system now for doing your analysis. That should help you to pick up the pace.

      Like

  49. Rebecca L Tuinstra May 13, 2020 — 1:48 am

    Day 2 blog out:

    Today I was able to get some edits done but not nearly as much as I had planned the previous day during my blog out. I think my biggest block to making the progress I wanted was my tendency to procrastinate by making plans/lists of what I need to do. It’s good to be organized, but this is no doubt procrastination. No more planning tomorrow, just doing.

    My goal for tomorrow is to at least get the edits done that I had planned for today: “Tomorrow, I want to start and finish working on the edits suggested for research questions and hypotheses. And I want to at least start on the method section edits.”

    Like

    1. Rebecca Glad to see that tomorrow is a day for action. Keep in mind it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can set a timer for your planning i.e. 1 hour for planning and the rest for doing.

      Like

  50. Nicole Blogging our Day 2
    Success today is not what I wanted. I was hoping to gain a good stride with chapters 4 and 5. Tables and planning statistical analysis are challenges for me. I hope to be able to focus more in the morning.

    Like

    1. Hello Nicole
      I hope that when we talk today you will have visited the UCLA site and come up with some options for your statistical test. Looking forward to our 1-on-1

      Like

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