PhD Dissertations & Writer’s Block: How Can You Overcome It?
Writer’s block is one of the worst things that can happen to any writer. It gets even more frustrating when you are writing a PhD thesis and cannot figure out how to move on to the next bit. What can you do then? Should you simply wait for inspiration to strike? Not necessarily. There are plenty of ways to beat writer’s block when writing a dissertation. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the best methods at your disposal.
Try to Be Spontaneous
When you have writer’s block, you tend to overthink what you want to write. You might find yourself trying to string a simple sentence together and be left with a blank Word Document instead. It helps to be spontaneous here. Instead of trying to write a perfect sentence, you should simply write whatever comes to your mind. This free-writing can remove the mental block that’s preventing you from writing and develop a flow.
You might hate what you wrote when you revisit your draft later, but you have got the basic ideas down. You can refine this draft and improve it until you are happy with what you wrote.
Find a Place Conducive to Writing
It can be difficult to write a thesis when you are surrounded by distractions. Things can get even harder if you add writer’s block to the mix. Your brain is just begging you to focus on other things instead and you are unlikely to get anything done.
Finding a quiet place that eliminates the distractions that usually surround you can be very helpful here. You can switch off your phone and focus on your writing until you have a good flow going. Most PhD students can benefit from a home office that allows them to write without being called away every 5 minutes to do other things.
Build It into Your Routine
As with other things, you need to make a habit of writing your thesis every day. For example, you can dedicate an hour or two every day to this activity. Building a routine is also helpful in warding off a potential writer’s block. Once your brain recognizes thesis writing as a daily task, it will immediately jump into a productive zone every time you sit down to write.
We also suggest choosing a time when you are most productive. For instance, if you are busy running errands in the middle of the day then trying to write your thesis at this time every day would defeat the purpose of setting a routine. Instead, you can choose a time when you aren’t doing anything and the distractions are at a minimum. Early mornings or late nights are usually ideal for this.
Choosing a specific spot for writing every day can also be helpful as it allows your brain to discern a pattern and associate this spot with thesis writing.
Declutter Your Mind
Writer’s block is often the byproduct of stress and a hectic routine. If you are struggling with something similar, then we suggest you give yourself a break and get some necessary R&R. Doing so can help you get rid of the things that are weighing you down. Once you are feeling better, you can take a stab at your thesis again and get back to writing. If you are distracted by personal or professional problems, then it helps to resolve these issues as best as you can before you return to your thesis.
Make Yourself Accountable to Someone
Some people work best under pressure. If you are one of them, you could benefit from an accountability partner or a coach who can check on your progress. The idea that you are answerable to someone can help you get over your writer’s block and focus on your thesis more. You can treat it as a daily priority instead of putting it on the backburner and doing other things instead.
If you plan to get an accountability partner, it will also help if you ask them to offer constructive criticism on your thesis. It’s important to strike some sort of balance here. You want to establish an amicable relationship with your accountability partner. His or her presence must help you focus, not diminish your self-confidence, make you anxious, and increase your stress levels. If this happens, be sure to have a conversation with the individual so you can re-evaluate the arrangement.
Wrapping It Up
Given the sheer length of a PhD thesis, it’s inevitable that you will run into writer’s block at some point or the other. However, the above-mentioned tips can help you overcome it. If you need more help with your PhD thesis, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our professional editors can help you with thesis proofreading and editing and make sure your thesis is ready in time for submission! Click here to learn more about our dissertation editing services.