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Academic Inspiration, Anyone?
Board: Yakking It Up
May 9, 2007 11:25am
Board
So here I am, in the midst of my only real free moments this week. (Oh those blessed office hours when no one comes to visit!) What should I be doing--probably working on my dissertation. What am I doing--surfing the web, wandering the halls, making phone calls....

The end is in sight--I will be turning a completed draft of my paper in to my committee at the end of this month. As I have been sending chapters periodically through the process, there (hopefully) will not need to be large amounts of revisions. The final product will be finished by the first week of August.

My problem arises from the fact that I simply cannot find the energy and focus sit down and just finish it! Realizing that it will never be the greatest contribution to western literature as we know it, I still hope to have a decent product but am discouraged at what I see as falling short. One of my colleagues stated that often times "the best paper is a finished paper." I know this and don't want to drag out the (excruciating) pain any longer.

Knowing that among the intelligent and talented people of Atlasquest exist several people who have gone through the PhD/doctorate process, I'm hoping to gain inspiration and motivation to get back to work! What worked for you? How were you successful in bringing it all to a close without losing your mind? (I'm feeling perilously close ;-) Any tips?

Thank you so much!
TDB
(Wishing it wasn't so beautiful outside and that I didn't have lessons/ceremonies until 9 p.m. tonight.)
Re: Academic Inspiration, Anyone?
Board: Yakking It Up
Reply to: #91059 by The Doctors B
May 9, 2007 12:05pm
Board
Been there! I think it's natural for inspiration and motivation to wax and wane. To be honest, my big impetus was getting a job for which I needed to have the dissertation finished. Deadlines, even if self-imposed, help. The other thing I found really helpful was setting a regular work schedule that I stuck to, motivated or not.

Also - and I don't know that you're suffering from this - look at your dissertation as the beginning rather than the end. You don't have to get everything into this one piece of work. Save something for the next book. :)

Good luck!
Murmur (so glad I didn't know about letterboxing when I was writing my dissertation!)
Re: Academic Inspiration, Anyone?
Board: Yakking It Up
Reply to: #91059 by The Doctors B
May 9, 2007 12:15pm
Board
I have no personal experience, but when my hubby was working on his, the biggest motivation for him was realizing that he could not get a job with the "will be completed by _(insert date here)_" line. For some reason the employers wanted people who had actually finished! =o) Employment was a strong motivator... that and the "(I) don't want to drag out the (excruciating) pain any longer" feeling.

After awhile I think most everyone looses the "this needs to be perfect" feeling in lieu of the "this needs to be done" feeling... but that does not mean it can't be decent, just done! =o) You are your own worst critic after all...

Good Luck!
Cheers!
Rhea
Re: Academic Inspiration, Anyone?
Board: Yakking It Up
Reply to: #91059 by The Doctors B
May 9, 2007 8:24pm
Board
Thank you--Here's hoping I can stay focused during those beautiful summer months. Oh letterboxing...why do I love you so much!...It definitely was a distraction for my husband in completing his paper and what a fun one for me!
Re: Academic Inspiration, Anyone?
Board: Yakking It Up
Reply to: #91140 by The Doctors B
May 10, 2007 11:46am
Board
I'm sure it doesn't compare, but my thesis for my bachelor's was a nightmare semester for me. I juggled two jobs, a full class load and a personal life somehow (I had not discovered letterboxing yet). I also lived with my boyfriend and a roommate, neither of whom were in college and could understand why I had to sit and read books and stuff all the time, when I wasn't sitting at the computer (altho the boyfriend was much better at understanding the WHY of what I was doing). All the time, "come on moonduck, put down the book, play some video games" and everytime, I'd refuse.... to this day, my boyfriend will say, "remember this or that movie, we watched it when we lived at the old place" and everytime the response is "you watched it while I read a book for my thesis."

My thesis was on Ulysses S. Grant and the question I came up with and tried to answer was "Was he truly a good president" or something like that.....

A couple of weekends before graduation I was burnt out. So I agreed with myself.... I would take one entire weekend completely off of it. I hated Grant by that time even, just couldn't stand the thougth of him, what a jerk! but I still had just kept plugging along.

That weekend saved my life, I swear. I played hours and hours of video games I'd denied myself, watched some movies, drank even..... and Monday came and it was much easier to get down to it and finish it.... and I ended up finishing it by the end of the next weekend. Turned it over to my proofreader, fixed what she found, turned it in 2 weeks early. Got an A too!

Bottom line, I know it's not a doctoral paper but it was a big huge project for me and a lot of people didn't think I'd even make it to graduation. But I've found out since, any project is made better and more productive if you ALLOW yourself a break, physically and mentally.

moonduck