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Showing posts from December, 2009

Waiting for your dissertation advisor's feedback

I like to ask people who sign up for the " Dissertation Writer's Toolkit " what the biggest challenge is in writing their dissertation. Here is what one wise responder wrote: Feedback. Writing something, say a chapter, and getting feedback from the supervisor on it. Somehow it always goes on the 'to do' pile ....and you wait and wait. I found it was much more helpful to agree to a deadline, and push push push (in a nice way) to have my supervisor look at it. It doesn't work long distance; you have to be right under their noses and booked on an airplane and out again 10 weeks later. Somehow the whole thing will be done, written, corrected and finished in that time. Worked for me. Sometimes students are just too 'in awe' of their supervisors to expect action, and politely sit back and wait for the feedback. I have friends who waited 6 months for chapters to be returned. I waited too long, too (I was 20,000 km away), then I just got fed up, shipped the

A New Year's Toast (that fits my life)

This is from Louis Schmier, professor and philosophizer extraordinaire. He describes how he will toast the new year. (To read his whole blog post, go here .) "I'll pour a quiet glass of champagne then or on 2010 January's first day and lift it to this coming year's surprises, to all the coming unawares, to the inevitable reshuffling of the deck, to the complexity of it all, to what I cannot now know, to what I cannot now guess, to what I have no clue, to what I cannot now control, to what I cannot now guarantee, to the out-of-the-blue bolt of lightning, to the unpredicted, to the unexpected, to the unfamiliar, to the without warning, to the out of nowhere, to the unforeseen, to never stepping into either the same river or class, to all the twists and turns in life's road that will keep me from falling asleep at the wheel, to the unplanned interruptions that like an earthquake will shake me from the doldrums of routine, to the as yet unknown challenges that will

In case you follow the writing plan from the previous post...

In case you decide to follow the options in the writing plan in my previous post, I wanted to remind you that we now have gift certificates to the Academic Writing Club . Ask for membership to the Club as a holiday gift, and get something you really need, for a change. The Club will help you implement your writing plan on a daily basis. Or maybe some nice dissertation advisor or department chair will realize that the Academic Writing Club will increase their graduation rate and decrease time to degree, and give all the graduate students a gift. Well, I can dream, can't I? The Academic Writing Club Gift Certificate ! Give the gift of peace of mind . . . Now you can give (or ask those who love you to give you) a gift certificate to the Academic Writing Club. You can give 1, 4, or 12 sessions, each consisting of 4 weeks of membership in the Academic Writing Club. To learn more, go to (or tell your loved ones to go to): http://writinggift

Write or Rest During Your Break? Here’s a Plan!

Aaah – The holiday break. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s time to sail away to an exotic location*, or more likely to collapse and then visit relatives. But many academics are torn about whether and how much to write during the holidays. On the one hand, they’re exhausted from the semester, and need a rest. They want to spend time with family and friends. Yet they know that the holiday break may be the best time to get some writing done. As usual, I’m talking about the long-term writing projects that must be done in order to advance your career – either finishing your dissertation or writing articles/books towards tenure or promotion. These are the projects that get pushed to the back burner because their completion really only matters to you. Write or Rest -- How about a Compromise? Which should you do during your break -- write or rest? Well, here’s a compromise plan (with a 9-step or 10-step option) that has worked for many people. Give yourself some time off.