Added to all this, there is a pervasive perception – especially by those who aren’t doing much of it – that writing isn’t really ‘work’ (Murray 2012).
This means that families or bosses can sometimes regard writing as less important than their own demands for candidates’ time and attention.
But of course, many candidates are enrolled part time, they might have (sometimes substantial) work commitments, and many have family responsibilities for children and/or elderly parents – after all, the median age of Ph D candidates in Australia is 35, a life stage where much of this family commitment is at its peak.
Even those who are relatively free of other work and family responsibilities might have teaching duties, or may be preparing conference presentations or journal articles.
But, the thesis does have to get written if the candidate is to get their degree.
Keeping a diary to see where the time disappears to can be invaluable.Often we imagine our days being spent differently from what we actually do in reality, unaware of just how much time was really spent on particular tasks.Identifying these distractions is one thing – changing the writer’s reactions is another! (An earlier post on Rescue Time might help some doctoral writers manage their time a little more effectively.) Of course, there is no answer to my original question, and writing can take so much longer than one expects.A draft Table of Contents with word counts for each segment becomes the working target guide.Next, we make an early Gantt chart to map out the months and years of writing ahead.Have you found some other ways to make this happen?By Claire Aitchison This question comes up frequently for students and their supervisors as they try to plan for timely completion of the Ph D. We all acknowledge that writing productivity is more complex than any formula.In thinking about how to respond to this, I came across Helen Sword’s recent article in which she reports on the broad range of writing habits described by all sorts of successful academic writers.What becomes immediately clear is that there is not just one time of day, amount of time nor place that works best – for each person it’s different and depends entirely on all sorts of other factors in their lives.So, if that planning for 110 words each day isn’t the answer, then would a weekly schedule of writing tasks be more useful?Some days might produce 50 good words, and then another produces 500.