For doctoral students, the dissertation stage can be a significant point of uncertainty, confusion, and anxiety. This page offers a detailed guide to help you navigate my posts and get your dissertation done.
If you’re just getting started with your dissertation, check out my post: 7 Tips for Starting to Write The Dissertation. This post is packed with concrete advice and detailed information to help you get started. Trust me, this is not a fluffy list post.
The process of completing a dissertation requires managing a lot of moving parts. Getting organized makes the process more manageable.
If you’re figuring out how to manage yourself and your writing, my post on my top 3 dissertation management tools. could serve as a solid starting point.
Many dissertations involve delving deeply into various written sources. If that sounds like the dissertation you have to write, check out my post on organizing sources.
A huge part of my dissertation organizational strategy was measuring my progress. This really helped make the writing phase more manageable and I recommend reading my post the details measuring writing using words, pages, or hours.
Dealing With Writing Slumps
Writing slumps will likely happen and that’s perfectly normal. It’s important to reflect on why you might be in a writing slump.
My post on 8 writing productivity methods to try out offers solutions based on specific kinds of writing challenges.
Dissertations are super challenging and an issue that we might face is that we might not know how to approach certain parts of it. My post on completing challenging tasks details the specific of an approach that could help you as face writing tasks that feel complex.
In addition to being challenging, dissertations can quickly turn chaotic. My post on dealing with chaotic writing drafts offers a fairly simple solution that helped me as I got a handle on unwieldy notes and writing in my chapters.
There is no magical hint that I know of to help you instantly complete your dissertation. Here are a few helpful hints to make parts of the process a bit easier:
- Reading (long) PDFs? Check out my top shortcuts when reading Adobe PDFs.
- Repeating the same words? Check out these online thesauruses.
- Need to improve your writing? Check out my resources for improving grammar.
- Trying to create better visuals? Check out these free and easy web-based tools.
When Life Happens
Most of us don’t live in a bubble as we complete our dissertations. We all encounter moments when writing the dissertation can become even more challenging. While I don’t have the experience to comprehensively cover everything, I can offer some resources on situations I have personally encountered.
Illness – Getting sick sucks. Managing chronic illness issues while completing a dissertation can be particularly draining. I wrote a post about my story with chronic pain and productivity.
Money – For many of us, money during the Ph.D. can be a major issue. While I was fortunate to have a multi-year fellowship, I was not guaranteed funds during the writing phase. A combination of saving my money from teaching and winning grants helped me extend the life of my fellowship. Grant writing is something we should be doing throughout our graduate career and I would recommend my post on finding grants to help you locate possible sources of funding.
Eating – During my graduate career, I found that my friends and I engaged in unhealthy eating habits. Perhaps we would eat out too much out of convenience. This would negatively impact either our wallets or gut or both. Cooking at home can be both cost-effective and a form of self-care. If you don’t know where to start with cooking on a budget, check out my post that details a resource that can help you learn how to cook and eat well for free.
Travel – There is a lot of information on the internet about travel hacking and saving money on travel. I hope to write a comprehensive post on that soon. Travelling for work or pleasure can derail writing and I would recommend my post of tips for writing productivity when travelling.
Imposter Syndrome – Imposter syndrome is the worst. Most of us deal with at throughout our graduate career and beyond. I don’t have an instant solution, but I can offer one method that I used for dealing with imposter syndrome during my graduate career.
I hope this guide is a helpful starting point for helping you navigate the completion of your dissertation. This page will be updated as I write posts pertinent to this topic.
If there are any topics you want dedicated posts about, let me know in the comments or send me a message.