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The successful writer knows that feeling lost, frustrated, and tired is just a part of the process of coming up with something great. There are bound to be a few false starts and dead ends along the way.If you feel shitty about the writing and force yourself to write anyway, you will not only finish your dissertation, you will allow yourself the opportunity to work through complicated arguments and say something interesting or even something pretty great.All professional writers know that good books and interesting articles are the product of several drafts. In fact, the dissertation is better thought of as the lousy first draft of an eventual book.
What advisors want to see is honest effort and interesting thinking on the page.
Trust me, most of us remember all too well what our dissertations were like (mostly terrible: just ask your advisor if you can read a copy of hers! But we also know that the only path to a completed dissertation and a blossoming career is through writing—putting ideas down on a page, and wrestling them into shape. In fact, it’s the most important thing you can do for yourself and for your future.
Instead, try to write for a longer, uninterrupted time.
In NYU’s workshops, we write for 50 minutes straight, with 10-minute breaks, for 4 hours daily.
If the smartest person in the world cannot learn to write, then she won’t be a successful academic. Everyone struggles with similar technical and emotional issues: procrastination, distraction, anxiety, structuring an argument, finding their voice, integrating theory and evidence.
It’s very hard work, this writing-your-dissertation thing.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are no magical shortcuts to the production of prose, academic or otherwise.
Writing must become a non-negotiable part of your daily routine.
On the bad days, nothing that you write will seem good enough.
You’ll hit the backspace and delete keys so much that they’ll start sticking.