500 words a day... sounds easy right? This is my dissertation diet. From now until the first of May I need to write 500 words a day.
Huge projects (like writing a book) are completely overwhelming. Whether it is a research paper or a dissertation, it helps to break large projects into their smallest, and most attainable, parts. The worst thing you can do is procrastinate or expect that you can simply lock yourself in a room for a day or two (or a month in my case) and finish. That is just not healthy and, usually, does not produce your best work (although we have all done it).
Since writing is the act of thinking, it is a process, not a product. You have to give yourself the time to write, think, and rewrite. I am hoping that by creating such a small daily goal, I won't get overwhelmed by the process of writing my dissertation. I can sit down each and every day and simply write. I also hope that this will prevent me from being consumed by the dissertation writing process. I want to maintain balance in my life - work hard while still maintaining my health, friendships, and hobbies. Also, miss Ophelia requires a lot of attention!
Of course this is all well and good in theory, but, like with anything, goals can be more difficult in reality. If I can keep to this dissertation diet, however, I will have a little more than 50,000 words by the end of this semester, which would give me plenty of time over the summer in Italy to research any missing pieces, and begin revising. My long-term goal is to defend in spring 2017.
Here is to setting attainable goals and making them happen!