(Closed) Thesis writing aka drinking tar — need encouragement.

posted 4 years ago in College
Post # 16
Member
1837 posts
Buzzing bee

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ninakins:  Sorry, I can’t help you. When I hated every minute of thesis writing, I took a break to do the paperwork that would buy me another semester to finish it. 

Post # 17
Member
3281 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

Solidarity!! After I finish grading my students’ essays, I have to write a rationale for my feminist scholarship graduate certificate and then revise my dissertation prospectus…. Hopefully by Monday. Argh. We can do it though!!

PS: Love your thesis topic!

Post # 18
Member
655 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

I’m curious about what your degree will be.  What an interesting subject for a thesis!  I am only in my third quarter of graduate school for my MS in clinical counseling and it’s hard to imagine having the organization skills to complete a thesis at this point.  Everyone has such good advice!

Post # 19
Member
28 posts
Newbee

It’s soo cool to know that there are other girls with my problems… I just started my master and I have  to take classes and write my thesis at the same time. And It’s haRd. Sometimes I dream what I read during the day. 

Post # 20
Member
205 posts
Helper bee

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ninakins:  Buddy bear! I finished my dissertation 9 months ago and I feel like the most comforting thing I can tell you now – even though it doesn’t feel like it at the moment – is that you won’t remember a bit of it in a few months πŸ˜›

 

But really. If humanities are anything like the sciences, do not shy from restating your facts over and over. Especially in conclusion areas, really drive home the fact that you think your reader is dumb, since because you and possibly your advisor and maybe some bronies idk where this gets published, are the only people who will read this the whole way through, the largest part of the body are reiterations of previously-stated points in case someone skimming missed them.

Another way of stating that is saying what my PI told me in my fifth year – write a lot. If you get writer’s block or you’re nervous, write a lot tipsy. Just get it all down – any stupid thoughts you have against some kind of outline. Random-ass paragraphs or whatever. Just highlight them if you’re spewing words around a document. You can always cut later but it’s much harder to put up a reasonalbe scaffolding when you’re nervous than it is to cut down extraneous details when you’re stalwart.

Post # 21
Member
1315 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

I’m in the writing up stage of my PhD (about to start writing chapter 3….kill me). I’m miserable. I have days where I literally get almost nothing done and days where I pump out a ton all at once. It makes for the most unhealthy roller coaster of guilt and self-loathing. I also work alone from home which is terrible.

I’ve just installed the Strict Workflow chrome extension on my computer and it’s a lifesaver. It basically enforces the 25/5 minute work rule that PP mentioned above by blocking access to websites you procrastinate on (I’m on my 5 min break right now).

Other tips:

– there are two stages to writing: creative and technical. Creative is just getting the words down on the page and building the story/arguement. Don’t worry about flow, grammar, spelling, consistency, just get the words down. Then go back and do the technical bits, editing, formatting, inserting references, etc. While you’re doing the creative writing and you need a reference just put [INSERT REFERENCE] or [INSERT RILEY et al. PAPER ON MY LITTLE PONY] and then go back later to fill it in rather then trying to fill it in then and there. This tip from my supervisor has been a lifesaver!

– References are the BANE of my existence. I now use Mendeley and give each article a tag with each chapter that it’s used in so at the end of the chapter I just draw up all tagged references and export them into a already beautifully formatted reference list! Such a time saver (wish I had known about that in my masters!)

– Don’t be a perfectionist. Seriously — so hard in practice, so important for your sanity. This is especially true if you’re in a program that doesn’t have a set submission date!! With academic papers you can literally spend all of eternity revising and tweaking. Get the paper to 80% and submit. Everything after that is basically incremental improvements that aren’t worth the amount of time and effort that you invest to make them (decreasing marginal returns …. yup I’m an economist). This was another great tip from my supervisor. 

Good luck! Just know you’re not alone out there! My 5 minutes are up…back to work πŸ™‚

ETA: sorry for being all over the place and so many spelling/grammar mistakes. Tried to type up as quickly as possible before my break ends. Guess we can call this the “creative” writing phase πŸ™‚

Post # 22
Member
474 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

Ugh I totally get it. When I was writing my Masters thesis I would give myself rewards. If I could finish a section I would watch a show I really wanted. Try rewarding yourself!

Post # 23
Member
32 posts
Newbee

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ninakins:  I have no advice because I too am having a THIS FEELS LIKE DRINKING TAR crisis. But it really, really has helped to read about everyone’s experiences. Sometimes I make things even harder for myself by convincing myself that everyone else is so much more efficient/confident/organized/motivated. Hang in there! I like to tell myself that just because it feels crappy doesn’t mean it is going crappy. And when that doesn’t work, I tell myself that feeling crappy is part of the process. 

Post # 24
Hostess
4076 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

I had to write a Comment for law school (legal thesis) and I won’t lie, I drank wine while I wrote at least half of it! It definitely sucks, but my thoughts were flowing more freely after I’d had a glass or two and then I’d review and edit from there. Having a set schedule helped me too. The way I write, I eventually get on a roll so I knew I had to allocate a large block of time. I’d usually pick one weekend day and that would be all I did for 10 hours. Find what works for you and good luck! You’re almost there!

Post # 25
Member
81 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Following! Seriously, I need motivation to work as well. ABD is the worst place to be….

Post # 26
Member
5085 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

I finished my PhD dissertation back in October, so I get it. My main issue was getting the motivation to start writing, once I started though I could keep the momentum. I took a couple days where I just sat down at the table, put in my headphones (“Classical for Studying” playlist on Pandora) and went to town for like 10 hours straight. 

My suggestion for those just starting out though, is to write as much as you can as you go. I’m speaking from a science perspective, but it was immensely helpful to have all my previous write ups and proposals about my experiments, plus my pubs, to go back to and piece together for the dissertation. I had much less to write up from scratch that way. 

This is also personal preference, but I’m not a “drafter” when it comes to something this large. I don’t write a rough draft, then to back and edit, then go back and insert references, etc. That just takes too much time, IMO. I write it like it’s the final version and only go back to it if I have to fix something. Once a section was done, I rarely went back to it except to adjust figure numbers. Again though, for me it was scientific writing, not creative writing where inserting references might throw off your train of thought. 

Another thing I found immensely helpful was utilizing Word’s built in table of contents and list of figures and tables features. It takes a bit of time to get used to using and format correctly, but it was awesome to not have to go through and manually make a table of contents, especially if I changed the order of something last minute. I also used Endnote for references, that’s pretty standard in my field. 

 

Good luck!

Post # 29
Member
1 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: May 2016

I totally understand you. Thesis writing is already a five-month torture and it became this way since the moment my supervisor started sayin vague things and I had to guess what he meant and when I wanted to clarify something, his explanations became even more vague. And whatever he told me wasn’t helpful at all. The only thing that kept me going is a possibility to get one of the best paid jobs mentioned in the article from dissertation writer blog once my thesis is done..well, I’m just kidding..but having such prospects is nice. Nevertheless, I do hope that in few weeks or even days you and me would have the thoughts just like in the picture below.

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