Wednesday, December 30, 2009

On writing dissertation

[some of this thread originally appeared on the PLA blog - I copied and pasted my messages here. Enjoy!]

the first rule of 'dissertating' - yeah, it echoes 'fight club' - is to get it done!

there is no perfect dissertation - no perfection in anything either. i know that we are about to discover something; our ideas must be valuable; our dissertation is "our preciousssssss"; the others before us did pretty bad job, etc.

i also know that we deeply think that our work is not equal to all the years we have spent on our undergrad and grad study. we ask ourselves "is that it?" so, this thinking pushes us to see all the flaws in our work or to make it perfect all the way down. neither way is productive, right?!

we sometimes deceived ourselves. we think that our dissertation is the precious thing - perhaps, a diamond, or a ring that rules all - that defines us! my work should be who I am, right!?

well, believe me or not, o'reader, one day you feel the way I attempted to describe just seconds ago. but, remember, the first rule of 'dissertating': get it done!

October 3, 2008 3:43 PM

the second rule of 'dissertating' is to remember the world variable that binds us all.

(i remember this variable from a paper on tense, mood, modality :))

please, don't forget that there is a world outside your dissertation -- your desk, laptop, notebooks, papers, articles, books, etc., for that matter --. we are all human beings; we need to eat, drink, sleep well.

i know that we want more time, we imagine that, perhaps, if the day is a little bit longer than 24 hours, we would be more productive. this is actually a mind trick or a fallacy of academia. our aim is not to be more productive but to get it done -- remember the first rule.

thus, take care of your bodily needs.

and, we may not aware of this, but, we can do something else other than writing our dissertation. we always have time to do something else! don't regret! we can exercise, we can talk to people, we can hang out with the people, we can read novels, we can watch tv, we can go to a movie, we can walk, we can sleep more, we can do painting,drawing, singing, etc. (check out sunny's blog :)

all in all, just remember the world variable that binds us all. we are all human beings.

October 4, 2008 2:59 PM

the third rule of dissertation is keep going.

before you start writing your dissertation, you may plan to write x pages/day. after a while, you realize that your plan may not work. some days, you can write many pages; some other days, you cannot write any pages. you may feel that you are not able to write even a word a day. then, you might think that you are not able to finish your dissertation and start procrastinating or blame others or worse blame yourself.

don't worry, o'reader, your mind is still working, is still writing pages covertly. (you will not stop your mind working on your dissertation). so, latent thinking takes over overt writing. enjoy those moments.

you didn't just start working on your dissertation. you have already written some sections and/or, at least, your dissertation proposal - presumably, you already wrote, at least, a chapter. so, it was you who accomplished a lot of tasks. you will continue writing and you will finish it.

so, my friend, remember the third rule: keep going!

October 16, 2008 7:20 PM

so, now, you have your dissertation proposal. you plan to do this and that research and write it down from a perspective.

at some point, you will feel, you can't finish it on time. if you're stressed out, then you can think that you are not 'smart enough' to accomplish the task. you may remember the past experiences in which you weren't on time or failed or ...

this is not true.

first of all, this is just a feeling. you may still finish it on time. feeling is not equal to the experience/reality itself.

secondly, you didn't sign a contract. there is always a way to accomodate your progress and your plan.

perhaps, you need just a day off to think about other things rather than your dissertation. remember, you can't stop your mind dealing with your research - since you have spent a lot of times on it, you have read a lot of things about it, etc. but, still, a full 24-hrs break may give you enough energy to continue.

stand still, a feeling can't break you apart :)

November 19, 2008 4:15 PM

whatever you do, you have to wait...

February 3, 2009 4:29 PM

one day you open up your eyes to a rainy day (or sunny, who knows). and you talk about your dissertation journey in front of several people. it is not an attack or defense, it is a presentation :) good luck!

February 18, 2009 11:54 AM

while you are writing your dissertation, you are stressed. there is nothing wrong with this. worry more if you are not stressed!

there are ways to use your stress and worry positively.

there are ways to reduce your stress. it is a simple and hard task: Spice up your life style! Eat well and sleep well. Exercise.

You can do simple and less energy consuming exercise such as Walking! Yes, walking. Take regular breaks then simply walk. You can put a time limit, say 15 minutes, 30 minutes but do not decide a destination. For example, walking to the library is NOT a type of exercise intended here. Walk slowly. Walk to walk.

You can do other type of less energy consuming exercises such as Yoga.

It is, perhaps, more beneficial if you exercise without any expectation. So, for example, you are walking and doing yoga for not loosing weight here.

Of course, you can certainly benefit from other type of exercises such as running or sports. but try not to make it a competition with yourself or others.

there are other ways to reduce stress. if you are a religious person, simply pray. or sing a song. help others without any expectation.

you can also listen to 'soft' music. i like to listen to 'nature sounds'. you can buy them from under mp3 downloads. for example,

it my make a lot of difference to listen to spring sounds during winter :)

you can also read books, watch tv, go to a movie, etc. the key is to be proactive and use your stress and worry wisely.

April 25, 2009 8:06 PM

1 comment:

Engin Arik said...

Feb, 18, 2009 was my defense date!