Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Words of Wisdom

A friend of mine wrote me the most excellent "pep talk" on writing my dissertation I've had to date. I hope you find it as illuminating as I did:

"OK, now listen to me puerko. Write your f*cking dissertation. Sit down and write it... it doesn't even matter what you say or how you say it, it doesn't have to be a work of genius, but you are making yourself sick not having it done.

You are a couple hundred pages away from having a PhD, so all you have to do is write them. You've been in school so damn long that they will be glad to give you a PhD, even if you give them a piece of total shit.

IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT! So stop procrastinating, because waiting isn't going to make it any better, waiting is only going to make you lose your chance.

You can always revise it later if you need to, decide to, or if by some chance they ask you to. But, you need to shit out a big long paper, and go collect your PhD. It will be like "here's my paper," and they'll be like "Thank you, here's your PhD". There's no reason to keep dragging this thing out any longer... even if you deliver a complete piece of shit, there's an awful good chance that no one will understand it either way, and they may even think that it is good.

I'm sure at this point you have thought about it enough to have some idea how you want it structured... so just start filling it in- even if its total shit. You could literally write the entire thing this month if you had to... did I say, it doesn't matter how good it is!!!??

OK, enough, I'm only distracting you... start writing NOW!!! Just write, and don't sweat the details... just get it done... revise later, write now."


Blogger Francesca said...

Whew! Thanks, I needed that. I may print it out and put it by my computer!

2:55 PM  
Blogger Porkorama said...

I was just thinking I should memorize it and recite it every morning as some sort of desperate mantra....

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Blogger Francesca said...

Oh, and if you want another commentator on the subject of "dissertation hell," I'm game.

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Blogger Francesca said...

Hey, I don't have an email for you, so I don't know how to get in touch with you other than posting here (or in Tribe). So...do you want me to start posting here, or what?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is so damn true! I am almost there, I wish I could know it earlier.

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Blogger Philip Kaisary said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, im doing my undergraduate dissertation at the minute, and im writing up my lit review, i have over 20 articles i summarized spaced out on my floor and im trying to make sure i include them all, is it just me or are lit reviews ever so slightly challneging???:(

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Blogger Chud said...

I just wanted to say that I read this pep talk on a regular basis. Much needed help.

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Annonymous,writing the lit.review is indeed challenging. Yes you are corect.
Actually writing the lit.review, for my proposal for the disseration and feeling terrorized by it!

I've accumulated 200 articles 10 books on this chapter alone. However it appears as I do the summary, I will only need/use 25 percent of the articles and 4 books

best wishes

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Words of wisdom.

I must say they are words of reassurance too! Paper don't have to be perfect. Yes,I need to drill this through my brain; refraim from the 2 deadly sin of writing toward Perfection and Procrastination.

You hit the nail right on!

Much appreciated. I need a kick to get on movin.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for this ... I haven't worked on my dissertation in over a month, and I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown.


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Blogger TM said...

Thank you for posting this. I am going to print it out and put it in front of my computer. Just the words I needed to hear

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Blogger Katie said...

Get the bastard done, get your bit of paper and then you can enter the real world and live your life...which will for the majority take place outside of your bedroom/library... where, unfortunately/fortunately (!) no-one cares what you wrote!!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Porkorama: My honest-to-god mantra while dissertation writing was "It doesn't have to be good; it just has to be done."

It has a nice rhythm, and you can even make up a tune to sing it to (I did!).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just write a little each day (203 pages), work from 9-5, then CLOSE YOUR COMPUTER, and TAKE YOUR WEEKENDS OFF - AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER!!!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for these words of wisdom! I have already printed them out! It's nothing but the plain truth indeed! Just do it...

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I just wanted to say that I read this pep talk on a regular basis. Much needed help.

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I'm struggling bitterly to get started on my first chapter for a dissertation in English. It has been 5 years and I still can't find out how to write the foundational chapter. It just keeps evolving. It's like trying to pitch a tent, and when one peg goes in the ground, another one pops out. My central argument is like a kaleidoscope, always changing shape, morphing into new patterns before my eyes. I'm sick. I'm trapped. There's no way out because I need the PhD to move on with my life. I would rather slash my throat than work in a boring office for the rest of my life. Someone please help if you know a good strategy for getting started or have any advice about what I'm doing wrong. "Just write" does'nt work. I try that all the time. My email is tneveca@gmail.com. I need help or I'll be dead soon.

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