Start any writing project by creating an outline, a list of writing tasks (define “intersectionality,” explain the history of phenomenology, articulate my study limitations, etc.), or—best of all—both.
Each task or outline section should be small, contained, and manageable. That way, you can start to see individual trees, rather than getting lost in a forest of research.
To accompany your outline or to-do list, create a schedule for completion. This might take the form of one task per day, x number of words written per day, or any other measurable outcome that works for you.
Just remember to take account of your schedule as well your deadline. Regardless of how tight that deadline feels, any writing plan you create needs to be realistic about your abilities to juggle classes, family commitments, work, and everything else you have in your life. Decide what time you can realistically set aside in your day and create your writing schedule accordingly.
Remember—every writer is different, and every dissertation student’s personal circumstances are different too. Don’t compare your progress to that of others—compare yourself to yourself. If you’ve got more written today (or have a stronger draft today) than you did yesterday, that’s progress—regardless of what anyone else has achieved!
Avoid falling into this trap by waiting until you have a complete draft before trying to revise anything.
Remember, both feedback and revision will be more accurate and more effective when the whole picture is revealed. You’ll save yourself time and energy by waiting until you’ve finished the draft/section/chapter to revise.
Avoid losing track of your point and getting stuck by keeping your sources in a different room while you write. Sources, after all, should only ever be a support for YOUR ideas—so focus on getting those onto paper, and let your sources wait. You can always add them in later.
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