It is important to understand that short breaks in writing will happen, and you can take those breaks without feeling guilty.
At a time when I needed encouragement, hearing any criticism, no matter how constructive, hurt my productivity. Find out what your committee wants and expects from your work. Don’t get distracted by small feelings of accomplishment: finishing one page means that you are now ready to write the next one, after all.
Knowing yourself and the kinds of feedback you need as you write is important on a project like this. Following the advice about feedback above, find out what kind of writing your committee expects.
Send partial drafts to anyone willing to read them.
This will not only prevent feelings of isolation as you write, as it will keep you connected to your committee and other writers, but it will also help prevent situations where you have to rewrite entire chapters. There may be times when you don’t need actual criticism, and instead just need to write, or to have someone say something encouraging.
Life unexpectedly happens often over a year-long period (or more!
), and knowing that your deadlines will likely change will help to prevent you feeling guilty about that.
The reading assignments, labs, papers, and tests you have been assigned as a graduate student may not have been so different from your undergraduate course work.
The dissertation, on the other hand, is a new kind of academic project, unlike anything else you’ve done.
In the sticky, sweltering heat of late summer, I wrote a little post called “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dissertation,” which translated my writing struggles into a therapeutic list of writing tips.
This post was written as I despairingly grappled with many of the negative emotions that can accompany slogging through a long form project like a dissertation (guilt, self-loathing, and a healthy dose of In the sticky, sweltering heat of late summer, I wrote a little post called “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dissertation,” which translated my writing struggles into a therapeutic list of writing tips.