Home Education 5 Lessons I Learnt from My Dissertation Writing Journey of 6 Weeks

5 Lessons I Learnt from My Dissertation Writing Journey of 6 Weeks

by Louise W. Rice
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Receiving the acceptance letter from my dream university got me all pumped up as it was all going as per “The Plan”. So, as I began my Ph.D. program with all my plans on paper, I (just like you) couldn’t wait to execute them with diligence. But as time passed, academia got to me, and constant deadlines resulted in even more frequent burnout. What brought more spice to it was the constant struggle to strike a balance between lab and life.

However, despite managing my time (at least what I thought) efficiently and never having to breach deadlines, I had never imagined that I’d end up writing my dissertation in just six weeks. My friend obviously thought I was a fool to be even thinking that I could be able to pull this off, but who knows without trying?

Did I have another choice? Maybe none! So I mustered all the energy I could and sat down to plan my 6 weeks before the first draft submission. I’d be fooling myself if I said that it slid smoothly as a warm knife through butter. There were some days when I wanted to throw in the towel and give up, but I kept pushing through and eventually finished it—in record time!

In this blog post, I’ll be reflecting on what I learned from this experience for anyone else who’s considering attempting such a feat. Writing your own Ph.D. dissertation can be an incredibly daunting task, so hopefully, this post will provide you with insight in terms of what it takes to complete it.

Demystifying the Fuss About Writing a Ph.D. Dissertation

Well, there’s a lot of pressure that comes with writing a Ph.D. dissertation. Not only do you have to complete an extensive research project, but you also have to write a lengthy paper summarizing your findings. And if that wasn’t enough, you also have to defend your dissertation in front of a panel of experts.

It’s no wonder that so many students find the whole process overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. In fact, after writing my Ph.D. dissertation in just a few weeks, I can’t help myself but share my experience with you (Just so you know…I am not advocating procrastination here!).

It’s All About Executing the Plan!

From my experience, I can tell you that the key to success is having a plan and sticking to it no matter what. It was important for me to stay organized and have an outline of my dissertation so that I could keep track of all the different elements that are absolutely necessary for writing a Ph.D. dissertation.

Importantly, I found it invaluable to take breaks throughout the process so that I could stay focused on the larger picture. Finally, having a supportive network around me was also incredibly helpful, as it kept me motivated and accountable when times get tough to how to approach the challenge effectively.

Writing a Ph.D. Dissertation is Easier Said Than Done

When I started writing my Ph.D. dissertation, I had no idea how I was going to get it done in such a short amount of time. I had procrastinated for months, and I knew that if I didn’t start writing soon, I would never finish. So, I decided to set a goal: write my dissertation in 6 weeks.

I am not going to lie: it was hard. Really hard. But I did it, and here is what I learned:

1. Setting a clear goal enables easy accomplishments

For me, this was 1,000 words per day. Some days I wrote more, some days less, but on average, I wrote 1,000 words every day. This may seem like a lot, but it’s actually only about 4 pages double-spaced. And once you get into a rhythm of writing, it goes much faster than you think.

2. Early morning is the best time to get things done

I found that if I wrote first thing in the morning, before checking email or social media or doing anything else, I was much more productive. It was also easier to maintain my focus throughout the day because I hadn’t been distracted by anything yet.

3. Being organized is a key to consistency

I established a consistent writing schedule and created a quiet and dedicated space to write. Further, the detailed and indexed notes I made while conducting the research helped me in collating and assembling all the information I needed to write my dissertation.

4. Breaks are as important as the hustle

While I wrote intensively and often lost track of time while being engrossed, I took regular breaks to rest and recharge. This helped me stay energized and increased my focus for the next writing lap.

5. A support system can take you an extra mile

I was on my toes as I was writing my Ph.D. dissertation, but the times when the blocks hit me were undeniable. To keep up with my academic writing sprints, I joined a writing group at the beginning of my Ph.D. program. While I wasn’t regular at these meet-ups, I always found it helpful to clear my mental block.  So, I reached out to my writing group for support and feedback, which helped me stay motivated and on track. But the star performer of my story was my decision to get my dissertation edited with the help of a professional editing service.

What Made My Ph.D. Dissertation Stronger Despite the Lack of Time?

There are a few things that I feel made my Ph.D. dissertation stronger despite the less time I had to spend on it.

  1. I was very clear about my research question and objectives from the start. This meant that I could focus my efforts on addressing these key points rather than wasting time on tangents.
  2. I kept a close eye on my word count and made sure to stay within the limit set by my institution. This helped me avoid padding out my work with unnecessary information.
  3. I made use of feedback from my supervisors and peers to hone my arguments and improve the overall quality of my writing.

Writing my Ph.D. dissertation in 6 weeks was intense and demanding, but I was determined to complete the task. As I did so, I shared the first draft with my supervisor. Little did I know, I was left in dismay by the email I received from my supervisor. And I quote, “You shouldn’t bother preparing your defense!” was the highlight of that email.

My supervisor called a meeting with me at our lab to discuss that the dissertation had all facts correctly mentioned, but it lacked presentation, required a proper flow of facts, and the need for language enhancement was immense.

Defense-ready Dissertation in No Time

Panicked by the thought that my dissertation would get rejected, I rang my friend, who was a research scholar at a university back home. He introduced me to a dissertation editing service that could help me get my dissertation up to par.

I found the best dissertation editing service out there that not only edited my work but also provided feedback and guidance on how to improve it. With their help, I was able to complete my dissertation in just a few days and successfully defended it shortly thereafter.

Writing a Ph.D. dissertation in 6 weeks is a challenging task that requires discipline, focus, and motivation. This process is demanding and intense and requires you to prioritize your writing above other responsibilities.

Before attempting this task, you should weigh the potential drawbacks against the benefits. So, start your writing sprint now, finish the draft, and get it edited by professional dissertation editors for a flawless defense-ready Ph.D. Dissertation.

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