If you are anything like most writers, the most daunting thing about beginning a long, research filled writing project is just that—that it’s a looong project.
This is why breaking the dissertation up into smaller highly do-albe tasks can take the ambition-killing fear out of it.
Before I tell you how to write a dissertation in fifteen minutes a day, I want to tell you that this is only possible when you have gotten your research underway. Now, you’ll gather more research as you go along, because you’ll encounter great articles and books which mention other great works in your topic area in their works cited or reference pages.
However, you’ll want to confirm that there is a viable body of information on your topic. It’s better to go with a new way of approaching a topic with lots of research on it rather than picking a topic no one has broached before, or you’ll end up with nothing to quote, paraphrase, or block quote—and after thirty pages of straight writing all in your voice, you’ll need other scholars’ insights and theories to back up your own.
Make sure you place onto every Xeroxed piece of paper where the information came from – some works cited within other works will be completely impossible to find later—and it just may be the very evidence you need to really back up an important point or launch you into a new chapter. Sources within sources always have documentation in that author’s works cited—so write it down, fully as it may be an obscure publication in a tiny journal that doesn’t show up on the web. Go ahead and document it now.
Just because you tell yourself you’ll remember it later—untell yourself this because you won’t. In two days of dissertation writing and the pressures that go with it, you’ll forget that absolutely life-changing article or book you discovered, believe it or not.
If you’re really smart, every time you add a new work you’ve quoted from or paraphrased—go ahead and create a citation for it. You’ll be glad you did later.
p.s. Works cited pages are great to tinker with when you’re stuck or simply cannot write another word.
Tell yourself, “I’m going to make myself sit down and free write on my topic for fifteen minutes and that’s it—then I get to go binge watch Game of Thrones.
I used this trick and free wrote a great introduction to my dissertation once—it really works.
Use the “fifteen minutes then ‘some kind of treat’” method for three weeks and you’ll be well into chapter two by how.
Typically, you’ll write longer than fifteen minutes, and eventually, believe it or not, you’ll want to write longer. Writing is like jogging—some days it comes really easy and some days you must simply force yourself through the first five minutes of it—then the payoff comes.
The more you get finished, the more you’ll want to get finished.
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