Motivation and Encouragement for Dissertation Writers Across Disciplines

Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

To Do: Dissertation Available as Kindle Ebook

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2011 at 9:02 pm

The new ebook To Do: Dissertation is now live on – just click here to check it out.

If you have found the TD:D blog helpful during your dissertation writing process, you can now have all the posts in a Kindle ebook.

Here’s some more information about what’s included:

The chapters in this ebook are expanded versions of original posts written for the popular dissertation writing blog To Do: Dissertation. During 2010-2011, TD:D experienced up to 300 hits a day from dissertation writers around the world.

Originally created during the author’s own dissertation writing process, this blog offered supportive and encouraging suggestions for dissertation writers across disciplines. The primary goal of the To Do: Dissertation blog was to talk realistically about practical steps that dissertation writers could take to finish their writing and take satisfaction and pride in their process and final product.

The To Do: Dissertation ebook includes the 26 step AB(C)D Guide to Beginning Your Dissertation and also offers chapters on common dissertation myths, how to start a dissertation writing group, and best practices for dissertation writing on a budget, among many other topics. In To Do: Dissertation, you’ll find over 50 chapters offering tips and suggestions for how to survive and thrive during your dissertation writing process.

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As I said in an earlier post, I’m still moderating the blog for guest posts – I just can’t keep up with writing all original posts anymore. You will also find all the TD:D blog carnivals and website reviews as well as all the guest posts still on the blog for your perusal.  The only posts included in the ebook are my own original work.

Enjoy the ebook and think about contributing a guest post or review to the TD:D blog!


Where We Go From Here

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2011 at 5:48 pm
To Do: Dissertation is a blog that was created in the Spring of 2010 to offer supportive and encouraging suggestions for dissertation writers across disciplines.  The primary goal of the To Do: Dissertation blog is to talk realistically about practical steps that dissertation writers could take to finish their writing and take satisfaction and pride in their process and final product.

Unfortunately, once the author of TD:D finished her dissertation and started a full-time job in the Spring of 2011, she didn’t have the time to post regularly to TD:D anymore.  Rather than leave the blog to languish, she chose to edit and publish the tips and suggestions that she created over time in ebook form.  You can find out more about her reasons for doing this here.

The first two ebooks, Tea-Time Tips and Suggestions and 101 Daily Dissertation Writing Tips are both available as Kindle editions.  A third book, To Do: Dissertation will be the final product of the blog and is coming to Amazon soon (All original posts written by the creator of the blog can now be found in the Kindle edition To Do: Dissertation).

However, TD:D will remain up and running because there are some very important posts still to be found on this website:

– guest posts and reviews

– blog carnival posts

– website recommendations

As well, guest posts for TD:D are still being accepted and will be added to the blog as long as guest authors are interested in submitting posts about their tips and suggestions for successful dissertation writing.  Make sure to click on Archives to read the most recent posts.

Most recent guest post: Writing Rituals

To submit a post, email

Guest Post: Writing Rituals

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Authored by: Eventual PhD

In the movie, Shakespeare in Love (Miramax Films, 1998), Joseph Fiennes plays William Shakespeare.  Will has enjoyed some success in his career as a poet and playwright, but when we meet him in the movie he happens to be suffering from a case of writer’s block.  That changes when he meets his muse, the lovely Viola de Lesseps, portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow.  If you have seen the movie, you may remember that when Shakespeare goes home to write, he does four things in succession.  First, he picks up his pen.  Second, he turns around once to the right.  Third, he rolls his pen between his hands quickly several times.   Finally, he spits once over his right shoulder.  Then, and only then, does he sit down and begin.

He performs these steps whether he is out of ideas and forcing himself to work, or so inspired to write that he runs home and bursts through the door.  Even when he can’t wait to get the words onto the page, he stops at his desk and speeds through the movements: pen-turn-roll-spit-WRITE!

Other writers have written about how they prepare themselves to work. Steven Pressfield details his preparatory routine in the first chapter of The War of Art.  It involves a lot of “lucky” stuff: a lucky pair of boots with lucky laces, a lucky hooded sweatshirt, a lucky cannon on his desk and a lucky acorn on his shelf.

At The Simple Dollar, blogger Trent Hamm describes his way of “getting into the zone” (this post was featured in a TD:D blog carnival last winter).  He spends up to an hour doing what does not seem like work: shutting off the internet, turning off the phone, stretching, meditating, making a to-do list.  However, he claims that this sets him up for an efficient work session that would take hours longer without this preparation.

When I was writing my candidacy exam, I had a ritual that worked very well for me. I would sit down at the computer with my stack of journal articles, turn off my e-mail, and play Spider Solitaire or Minesweeper for 20-40 minutes.  Seriously.  I could not sit down and get right to work.  I had to shift mental gears first, and the games did the trick.  Both games were installed on my PC – not by me – but they were there and easy enough to play a couple times.  Playing helped me clear my head of whatever I had been thinking about before I had to immerse myself in research.  An odd thing about this is that I have never been a video or computer game fan.   And I have not played those games since passing my exam.

I am glad that I advanced to candidacy before I read about other preparatory rituals.   I would have felt guilty – how could I be playing minesweeper when cool authors like Pressfield are reciting invocations to muses amongst all their lucky belongings?  I would have talked myself into doing something that worked for someone else.  And it probably would not have worked for me.  So, as I write my dissertation, I may return to minesweeper, a game that I have only limited patience for (so I know I won’t play it for very long).   Or maybe I’ll sing a Gregorian chant or do aerobics for ten minutes.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  It just matters that it works.

How do you get ready to work on your dissertation?  Please tell us in the comments – I would love to hear what works for others!