I’ve been plagued with writersitis for a long time. Since at least college – and possibly even longer – I’ve been afraid to write or convinced of how badly I write that I don’t work on my paper/thesis chapter until it’s due and write it all at once. This binge writing is very unhealthy for me (just promotes more writing anxiety) and makes me feel awful about myself. I’m trying to combat this last-minute binge writing tendency of mine, but learning new techniques to get through writing. I’ve been reading two books that I think will get me into better writing habits.

The first book I read was “How to Write A Lot” by Paul J. Silva. In this book, Dr. Silva focused on creating a writing habit by forcing yourself to write everyday (or at least 5 days a week). One of the chapters was a list of reasons not to write (don’t have a good environment, computer old, etc.) and arguments for why each of those reasons should not keep a person from writing. There was also a chapter about starting a writing group that sounds like excellent advice, but I’m not sure I can follow up on since most of my fellow grad students are deciding to go the comprehensive exam route, rather than writing the thesis.

The second book that I am now reading is “Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day” by Joan Bolker. Dr. Bolker, like Dr. Silva, recommends writing every day, but advocates starting with freewriting or slightly more focused writing about research ideas. This is the zero draft, from which the ideas/arguments/structure of the first draft emerge. I’m planning on trying to use this approach on the second half of chapter two that I’m currently working on and implement it fully when it comes to writing the remaining chapters of my thesis. I think that either book or the combination of both books is an excellent way to get working on a thesis or dissertation.

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