In fact, it literally means with 30 minutes a day, boo.
When you’ve got that locked down, work your way up to longer periods of writing.
The sad part is that it’s not the research that is holding up my progress (it is mostly complete) and it’s not my committee (they are supportive and want me to finish). I’m starting to think that I may never finish and will end up another A. That means you’re not the only person who has struggled while A. In other words, how can you design your work time to ensure that you have everything you need to complete your dissertation this year?
Only you can answer these questions, but I would like to share a few insights and gentle suggestions.
Instead, consider that drafting and revising are two separate stages of the writing process.
Those initial drafts are where you work out your existing ideas and generate new ones.It’s truly a battle between your future self and your resistance. In other words, either your future will win and you’ll start writing your dissertation or your resistance will win and you’ll end up arguing with somebody on Facebook about the presidential election.The best way to win the battle of the moment is to first understand that it’s normal for your resistance to show up every day when it’s time to write.I also realize that it seems like everyone these days is telling dissertation writers to “write your dissertation in 15 minutes a day” or that “you should try 25-minute pomodoros.” And as you’ve noted, I regularly advise people to write for at least 30 minutes per day.In response, graduate students tell me “that’s pie in the sky,” “it’s impossible to write a dissertation in 15 minutes a day“ or (my personal favorite) “Bolker really meant 15 a day -- the publisher made a mistake and never fixed it, sending an entire generation of graduate students into a tailspin of self-loathing and misery.” So let me make two important distinctions.As soon as you identify the error, the work-around is clear.Here are the most common technical errors I’ve observed in working with dissertation writers and a corresponding work-around: Psychological Obstacles: Technical errors can be fixed with changes in your writing habits, but psychological obstacles often underlie dissertation writers’ inability to write daily.After a week, you decide the whole daily writing thing doesn’t really work for someone like you.I call this daily struggle “the battle of the moment.” It’s the moment that it’s time writing -- the hardest moment to move through -- and if you can just get going you’ll be fine.For most dissertation writers, the inability to develop and maintain a daily writing practice is due to one of three things: 1) technical errors, 2) psychological obstacles or 3) external realities.While I’ve written about those in detail elsewhere, let me provide a quick dissertation-specific overview so that you can diagnose why you’re not writing and then design a quick and effective work-around.