I’m writing my dissertation
Is this you?
Megan is working on her PhD dissertation. While writing is theoretically her main job right now, she struggles to develop a routine. Because the part-time teaching assistantship has scheduled events and deadlines, it has a tendency to take priority in her plans. Even when she blocks time for her own writing, she’s not sure if she’s using the time well. Sometimes her lack of confidence in the work she’s doing makes her so discouraged, she just stops.
Autonomous doesn’t mean alone
As a PhD student, you are supposed to be autonomous and self-directed. Your project is meaningful. You have successfully written essays, research papers, and possibly a masters dissertation in the past. But a PhD is a whole other thing. It is considerably longer than anything you’ve written before. It might be the first thing you’ve written that is supposed to make a contribution to knowledge, rather than just demonstrate to your professors that you have a good grasp of what is already known in your field.
It’s not surprising you are having trouble finding and protecting time for your writing. It’s hard for experienced writers to do that. It’s even harder when you are just starting out. The amount of support for the writing process will vary considerably depending on your institution and your supervisor. You may not feel like you belong in your cohort of dissertation writers, or you may be studying in an institution with very few PhD students.
It is objectively difficult to structure your time and make commitments to things that you do on your own. As a doctoral candidate, writing your dissertation should be your priority. Not only should you allocate resources (primarily time and cognitive capacity) to it first, but it should get more resources than other things you are doing.
The Studio provides structure and community
A Meeting With Your Writing provides just enough structure to be helpful. Having those sessions scheduled in your calendar provides some anchors for your week. A Monday session gets your week off on the right foot. A Thursday session can help get things back on track. You could consider attending more than once a week.
It is harder to skip a synchronous group activity. You are also welcome to stay in the quiet virtual writing room. Many Studio members say that seeing other people writing helps them stay on task. Even just knowing others are writing at the same time you are, and having a time to check in at the end of the session, helps you focus.
Studio members have told me that coming to A Meeting With Your Writing also makes it easier to write at other times. If you like the format of the sessions, you can download a recording of the opening and closing bits to use in your solo sessions.
During A Meeting With Your Writing, the host is available to help if you get stuck. Getting stuck is part of the process. We can usually help. There is also time for sharing small victories and milestones at the end of the session. It can be reassuring to hear that other people also get stuck, take longer than they expected, and so on. It’s not just because you are new at this. Studio members span the full range of academic career stages. They’ve all been where you are. And they are willing to reassure and encourage you when needed.
Other ways the Studio helps
I also offer regular group coaching to help you anticipate challenges in finding time for writing, making plans, and supporting you with specific issues. Some group coaching is focused on the effectiveness of your writing process itself. Coaching sessions also offer opportunities for members to share experiences, to reassure and offer options for addressing specific issues.
It can be really helpful to have an academic community outside your institution. The Studio is an international group with members at all stages of career and backgrounds. The community helps to remind you that the way things are in your institution, or even your country, are not universal even if there are shared experiences.
A lower price
The structure provided by A Meeting With Your Writing and the availability of group coaching may make a significant difference to your PhD experience. The financial resources available to PhD students varies widely. A lower price option is available to make this support accessible regardless of your financial resources. You don’t have to explain why you choose that option, nor limit how much you use the resources based on what you pay. To each according to their needs; from each according to their ability.
Ready to go?
Still not sure?
If you don’t have a writing practice at all, you might want to start with the 15 minute per day Academic Writing Challenge (free). My book, Finding Time for Your Scholarly Writing will help you figure out how to fit that small practice in with other kinds of writing time.
You are also welcome to book a free consultation to discuss your needs. Or email me using this form.
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