To Write More, You Need Less Time

We often tell ourselves that it’s impossible to write unless we have a completely clear day. But that’s nothing more than self-sabotage. An uninterrupted day is a rare occurrence, so we ensure that those conditions are never met. And no writing happens. Introducing constraints can be the answer. In Zen and the Art of Writing, …

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How Tomatoes Can Help you Finish Your PhD

It’s no exaggeration to claim that my PhD was completely transformed by the Pomodoro Technique. I still use it most weeks, and talk about it almost daily. If you’re not familiar with it, hold tight. Pomodoro is Italian for tomato, and it refers to those novelty tomato-shaped kitchen timers. Here’s what you do: Choose a …

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Improving Writing Accountability with Focusmate

One of the biggest challenges with academic writing isn’t necessarily the writing itself, it’s actually keeping ourselves in the chair. As soon as we hit a tricky part, there’s an overwhelming urge to wander off and tackle an easier task. We tell ourselves, “This is far too difficult today. I’ll come back tomorrow and it’ll …

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Preparing for an Online Viva

If you’ve recently submitted your thesis, there’s a good chance your viva will happen online. Vivas can be stressful anyway, but technology adds an extra layer of excitement. Although it might feel daunting, the solution is to spend time preparing. Computers can sense when something’s important and conspire to thwart us. In this post, I’ll …

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How to Write a Thesis Abstract

Just when you thought you’d almost finished your thesis, there’s yet another hurdle: the abstract. Although it’s only around 300 words, this chunk of text can be surprisingly challenging. And you don’t want any more challenges at this stage. In this post, I’ll explain the purpose of the thesis abstract and also provide a step-by-step …

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Who do you include in your thesis acknowledgements?

Once you’ve dealt with the small matter of finishing your thesis, there are a few other tasks to complete, too. Although the Acknowledgements page isn’t assessed during the examination process, it still performs a vital role. This is where you get to thank all the people who’ve helped you along the way. The research itself …

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How to defeat your inner critic and keep writing

Most of us start out with good intentions to get some writing done. Then we hear the unwelcome voice of our Inner Critic: “You’re not really a writer” … “Who on earth are you, anyway?” … “Have you seen the state of the kitchen floor?” Sometimes this adversary can be silenced with a chocolate biscuit, …

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Close up hand writing in notebook while studying on computer laptop

Overcoming Procrastination and Staying Motivated: Three Strategies for Getting on with Your Writing

It’s all very well having a plan for your writing, but how do you actually get going? “I’ll just quickly check Twitter, then I’ll make a start on this chapter.” 5 hours later, it’s time for dinner. In this post, I’ll share three strategies for dealing with an unwelcome visit from the Procrastination Fairy. 1. Think …

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How to Become a Healthy Writer

If you’re an academic researcher, you’re also a professional writer. And if you’re a professional writer, then you’re probably suffering from a range of health problems. Most of us spend a lot of time hunched over our desks, so engrossed in work that we give no thought to the long-term consequences. Joanna Penn’s new book The Healthy …

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