My solution to getting frustrated while writing tricky bits of prose is just to write dot points. For each chapter, i ideally start by writing a list of things i want to cover. Then, i just sit down and try to write with as little interruption as possible. When i hit a section that i'm not sure how to approach, i write down some dot points on what i want to cover, and continue where i feel comfortable.
Mostly, writing the dot points clarifies things for me to the point where i just start writing the hard section anyway. Otherwise, i allow myself to leave a bit of a mess in the text, and come back and fix it up later.
Don't get caught up insisting on perfect writing. My final issue occurs when i look at my work typically from a couple of years ago , and feel like it needs to be improved. While it's possible to go back and redo some of the work going into your thesis, you should probably just forget about it and present what you have. Even if you think you really should revisit sections of your work, you should write up what you current have first , since you probably don't have enough time to do everything that you want to.
And lastly, some words of wisdom from my supervisor: Get used to writing some text every day. What is the level of the thesis that you are writing? You actually have honest-to-goodness scheduled thesis meetings, instead of having to track down, corner, and harass your supervisor to even read the bloody thing?
It sounds like you're in a bit of a rut; here's a possible way of turning that into a groove. Read your introduction in the morning. Take a nice lunch. Go have a nice dinner. Do something low intensity like taking a night walk at the beach or the park or something. Think about why you went and researched what you did. Think about what's cool about what you came up with.
If you had the time, I'd say take a day off - completely off and be a slacker, but you don't have this privilege. Odds are, a structure for the discussion section will start to precipitate in your mind. Go ahead and start typing. Whenever you're stuck, go back to writing down the thoughts from your evening walk. Also , it may be easier if you divide your discussion into several parts instead of having it as one big "top of the world, mom!
Deal with one thing at a time. You can always summarize it later. The important thing is to figure, in your mind, what you want to write - or at least, the structure of what you want to write.
Odds are that you already know what you're going to write, the trick is to start writing and keep at it - and this can be done if you have a semblence of a plan.
Now the difficult part is what to cut Rereading your question and the 'whole bunch of anxiety' stuff, it sounds to me as though you don't really know what you should write.
That means you have not planned it out properly. Even the shortest piece of writing can be outlined. First you write it as one sentence.
Now you turn that one sentence into three sentences. You can call these beginning-middle-end or introduction-body-conclusion or thematic entry-thematic development-thematic recapitulation or whatever you like. Beginning Middle End is simple and works. So now you have three sentences.
Now you do the same thing to each of those three sentences. If you keep doing this, two things will happen: You will always have, even if in very skeletal form, a finished document which expresses the idea you want to express. You can show this to someone and they will know that even if you haven't finished, you can. At a certain point you will suddendly discover that your outline has turned into your thesis.
At a certain point the beginning-middle-ends turn into the paragraphs of your final document, and you discovered that by outlining -- which is a relatively painless process -- you have actually avoided the writing process entirely.
I have used this method to write to deadline for 15 years in print journalism, TV current affairs, TV documentary and film screenwriting, and never missed a deadline yet. If it's any consolation, it is 1am and I am staring at my own thesis on my computer screen.
Not sure what degree you're doing, but the most awesome website for any graduate degree is Phinished. The site has a ton of helpful links and articles and a very supportive forum where you can make pacts with other struggling thesis writers and then check in with each other. Feel free to roll your eyes at something that looks really simple and really stupid - I did the same. But when I am stuck with deadlines and writers block, I mind map what I need to write and am constantly amazed at how easy the process becomes.
Give it a go and good luck! I also really like unSane's idea I'm going to try this myself! It looks like a great way to not only get something down on paper, but to be clear and precise in the first draft of the paper, as opposed to painful re-writes later.
From the perspective of writing theses, i needed to get The Fear. You need to properly link up failure with its repercussions and use this as motivation without letting it overcome you.
On a practical level, unSane's idea is very useful, you can break down the whole thing that way and then just build it up. This may seem kind of copout-y but it is better to have written something than nothing, so keep motoring on even if it seems like you're writing crap, if you write enough crap quickly enough then you maybe able to edit it into something better and remember: Plus, just attempting writing stuff down forces you to consider your ideas and how to frame them so you will be moving along even if you don't feel llike you're getting stuff done because the stuff isn't properly working out on the page.
Doing it over and over is part of the process until its done. Don't try pulling all-nighters and loading up on coffee ok maybe on the last day it won't do you any favours and the work will be worse as a result. Do go out tonight.
If AskMe had existed thirty years ago, I could have written the exact same question substituting "dissertation" for "thesis". I was baffled and increasingly upset. Eventually talking to someone who asked good questions I realized an important fact: I hated not only my dissertation but the entire grad school experience. I dropped out and felt a huge weight off my shoulders, and I've never regretted it for a minute.
Not saying obviously that you should follow in my footsteps, but in the unlikely event you do decide to chuck it all, you're not stepping off the edge of the world, you're just moving on to something new.
And now, back to your regularly scheduled advice To second someone earlier, what are you anxious over? Do you like your topic? If so, examine why you enjoy it and apply that to your writing. Preparation also goes a long way towards getting over that writing block.
I'm currently working on the last chapter of my thesis, and I've learned over the process of writing the other chapters, that if I have the resources and knowledge of them, the paper virtually writes itself. Perhaps the problem is that you haven't adequately prepared your current research? Take some time off and just go through your sources and as you find them, mentally or physically record them in sequence of how to use them in your paper.
I'm not chastizing, either. More than a few times I've come to a blank, only to stop, dig through my material, find exactly what I need to continue, and voila. As others have pointed out, outlines in any form help. Outline your thesis, outline your chapter, outline the first few pages, etc.
I also agree with the suggestions to remove your distractions. Anyhoots, good luck on the writing! I've found that a "sprint" sometimes helps get over the hump. Set a timer for 10 minutes and do nothing but writing on your thesis during those 10 minutes. Turn off every other bit of software you have running as well. Frequently, 10 minutes will become 20 minutes or an hour. A friend frequently started with something with a paragraph like, "this topic sucks because My sister has taken to giving this book out as a gift to her fellow grad students.
Hope you made your Thursday deadline. For future benefit, I heartily recommend The Now Habit. As a procrastinator, it has my number to an uncomfortable degree.
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Can't write your PhD? Writer's block for PhD students is common. Unstuck yourself from writers block with these 12 tips and get your writing juices flowing.
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