Dissertation Guide

Our comprehensive guide to the process of writing a dissertation or thesis. Back to Student Resources

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How can I concentrate on writing?

“I do think it is partly a state of mind. If you tell yourself that you can’t write because someone is going to knock on your door then you can’t write. If you tell yourself you can and you must write then you will write. And writing, like sleeping, can be done in ten-minute snatches. It’s probably preferable to have eight hours but life isn’t always like that and sometimes something really good can be done in ten minutes. It may not be very many words but it might be thirty or forty very good ones.”

“Some writers use a ritual to mark the break between avoidance activities and getting started with the day’s writing – a shower, sharpening pencils, cleaning, lighting votive candles, a bowel movement, washing dishes, etc. Anything to signal to yourself that now is the time for writing. I guess most writers aim to set up an imaginary protective wall so they can get into a sort of working coma.”

“Towards the end of my PhD I asked a friend to lock me in my room and then come and call for me with ice-creams two hours later.”