Thesis writing

It’s much more difficult to make myself sit down and write my thesis than I thought it would be.  Why?  I want to get the damn thing done, after all.  I want my degree.  I don’t want it hanging over my head any longer.

I think the thing still scares me.  The defense scares me.  On top of that, having moved away, it already feels like I’ve finished, even though I haven’t really.  The thing to do, I suppose, is just to say that I’m going to work on my thesis everyday at X time for at least Y amount of time no matter what.  I’ll start out small, with half an hour and work my way up.  I know I can’t possibly write my thesis in half an hour a day without it taking a ridiculously long time to write, but the idea is to just get myself in the habit of sitting down to work everyday and to use an increment of time that seems really, really manageable.  Then, I can work myself up to larger increments of time.  I do want to get this thing done, really, I’m just having difficulty finding the motivation to do it right now.

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8 thoughts on “Thesis writing

  1. yeah, what Comrade said. After all, your relatives live in Iowa and so do I, and everyone knows that there’s so few people in Iowa that all I have to do is ask around a little and I’ll find them. (and find out I’m also related to them, no doubt.)

  2. wait..has someone suggested to you the ‘writing your thesis in 15 minutes a day’ book? it’s possible i have suggested it already – my brain is fried as a result of the whole phd process..and the topamax mixed in!…anyway, your post and your philosophy here remind so much of the book, i had to mention it…if you don’t have it, you must read it. i already passed on my copy or i’d volunteer it — couldn’t have phinished without it…

  3. I totally feel your agony. But your plan of working in incremental writing blocks will work! This was the strategy which I adopted and I ultimately completed it in 4 months!

  4. Pingback: I wrote on my thesis today « I Love Science, Really

  5. Screw motivation, rely on routine. There is not enough motivation in the world to get anyone through a thesis. You have to rely on pure force of habit.

    Ramping up is a good plan initially. But, before to long you want your work habits to solidify into a routine. Have a start time, and an end time and some ground rules. I.e., no internet between the hours of x and y. Or a mental list of which sort of task are allowed during regular work hours. I find it helpful to have my official work day be kinda short, like four hours. Many days your momentum will lead to longer hours. But on bad days, it is good to be able to knock of your four hours and quit. I tend to have two grades of working: serious work and sort of fake work. Fake work includes filling out forms and updating software miscellanea. We all know what real work is. Shoot for x hours of real work. Initially, monitoring your hours in a spreadsheet can be helpful—keeps it real.

    Also, don’t think too much about the end goal. Focus on what you are going to do today and tomorrow, and have faith that the end will come when it is damn well ready. But for now, it is just one foot in front of the other.

  6. I found planning to start each morning on something easy or interesting really helped. Quite often, I would end a days writing by leaving a page of editing for the next morning. That way I had something to get started that I knew I could get done.

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