With my experience as an assistant professor, journalist, and dissertation writing coach, I can confidently tell you that there is only one sure way to finish your dissertation on time. Yes, only one thing, and that is taking writing seriously. Aside from mastering the art of writing and being committed, there is no other way to successfully complete your dissertation on time.
Dissertation writing takes a long time to complete and apart from the initial research, everything else is writing. Therefore, you need to be writing almost every day until you complete the task. To successfully achieve this, here are some basic steps to follow:
- At this point, you should have already completed all the necessary research
- Get a quiet and serene place to undertake your dissertation writing
- Get yourself a comfortable desk that supports your back
- Anytime you are working, put your phone on silent to avoid distraction
When all is set, then it’s time to begin. Unlike other assignments, you don’t need to be taking breaks just after some short period of writing. For example, taking 10 minutes of break after every 30 minutes of work. You can therefore adapt a longer writing session, like a 1 hour and 10 minutes break for about 5 hours each day. If you don’t have the luxury of time, then choose a time frame that suits you.
Why you need to write every day
Writing every day is a requirement if you want to produce a thought-provoking dissertation. The more you write consistently, the more you can develop new ideas and flow. In my experience, the best ideas come not when you are sitting idle and doing nothing, but when you are writing. Being able to persist relentlessly brings the breakthrough moment.
Committing yourself to the daily writing of a dissertation can be a daunting task. You will encounter issues of stress, anxiety, difficulty in putting your thoughts together, finding reliable sources, and procrastination. However, this commitment can reward you with the greatest satisfaction in your academic pursuit.
The truth is dissertation writing is an arduous task and requires hard work and dedication. So don’t make it any harder by procrastinating your writing schedules. There will surely be negative moments. Sometimes you may find it difficult to gather your thoughts or find better words to communicate your ideas. You may even struggle to find the appropriate literature to refer to, but, succumbing to these challenges can ruin the entire writing process. You can overcome all these with your consistent writing.
One of the advantages of writing every day is that when a bad day knocks you off, the following good day would make amends. On a very good day, with the right mood and inspiration, you can cover all you missed out on during that bad moment. That aside, it creates consistency and coherence in your work. You come into each day with fresh thoughts bearing in mind where you left yesterday and pick up from there. Besides, you can correct the mistakes you committed during the bad writing day.
One piece of advice every student must adhere to is “to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.” This really comes to play when writing a dissertation. Your first draft may be nothing to write home about, your sources may be questionable, the data may be bulky and almost impossible to process, and adding concepts you don’t even understand. The worst of it is the stress associated with the process. But nothing good is achieved on a silver platter. You need to go through all these to appreciate the struggles of other researchers. It also motivates you to come up with something worth reading and implementing. So, don’t be bothered if you have to press the delete button several times.
As you write your Ph.D. dissertation, remember that you are moved from the student mode to the status of the Ph.D. candidate, hence, you need to prove your worth. One of the surest ways to achieve this is to write every day. As you write, don’t forget to also spend time to go over it and edit. Editing puts your work in shape as you get rid of unwanted materials.