Graduate students face one of the most challenging times of their studies when it comes to writing their thesis or major research paper. Overcoming this challenge requires a lot of internal motivation, something that does not come easy on a solo writing journey. This post proposes strategies to overcome challenges with writing your thesis, a paper or a grant application.
Participate in a writing retreat
Writing retreats, such as Thesis Boost or Thesez-vous, are increasingly popular in graduate school. These events, create a sense of community and can break the feeling of isolation; giving grad students’ the morale needed to finish their thesis.
A well-structured writing retreat brings together writing experts to give students the tools and techniques necessary to plan the writing process, set achievable goals, and acquire techniques to deal with writer’s block and procrastination. Furthermore, these events create a unique environment, by bringing together other graduate students with common experiences, to promote the sharing of lessons learned and tips among peers, as well as comradery.
Set realistic goals to keep you motivated
Concordia’s Thesis Boost retreat starts with an orientation session highlighting the importance of organizing the writing process. Grad students need to treat writing the thesis process as a regular project, which involves making a plan: setting goals, defining milestones and constantly reviewing progress against the plan. It is daunting to think about writing an entire thesis as one big task because students face overwhelming feelings of self-doubt about their ability to accomplish such a herculean job on their own.
It is advisable that students plan the amount of time it will take them to write their thesis by breaking the project into smaller milestones. For example, setting the goal to write one chapter every three months. This chapter milestone can then be further broken down into daily milestones such as a commitment to write 900 to 1000 words daily. The sense that writing two pages a day is a doable endeavor positively impacts graduate’s self-confidence, and helps them to become more focused on writing and less worried about how hard it is to complete their thesis.
Keep your focus by working in intervals
Grad students sitting to write their thesis are confronted with the desire to check emails and navigate in social media. Avoiding the distractions and procrastination urges one might experiment the Pomodoro technique or Forest. The Pomodoro method entails setting your timer for a twenty-five-minute cycle during which you can only write your thesis. Once this cycle is over you might take a five-minute break to have a coffee or go for a short walk. Scientists confirmed that our brain is more productive when you are focused on a single activity.