Friday, 13 April 2012

New addition to the bookshelf

Joan Bolker's Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day is the latest addition to the GSRR bookshelf. This book is designed to guide PhD students through the entire thesis-writing process, from first draft to final submission. Bolker quickly admits that the title was designed to be attention grabbing, but explains that the main point is that you do some work on your thesis every day. According to Bolker, '"Every day" is more important than how much time you spend, or how many pages you produce, or what quality of work you produce.' She introduces a number of short-term techniques and methods which can kickstart your writing and help with self-discipline. I've come across many students who are Bolker-devotees, while others find her advice doesn't work for them. As with the other thesis guides on the bookshelf (Dunleavy, Brewer) it is up to you to take a look and pick and choose from the advice on offer. Different stages of your thesis will call for different methods and ways of working. The key piece of advice I took from Bolker was 'Write First'. She advises beginning each day by writing rather than letting yourself get distracted by the numerous other tasks awaiting you. I pinned this mantra to my noticeboard and it certainly helped my focus during a particularly difficult stage of writing-up.

So, make sure you take a look at the bookshelf next time you're in the reading room!
For online advice about writing, The Thesis Whisperer and The Three Month Thesis both have a wealth of resources.

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