Dissertation writers need strong, practical advice, as well as someone who understands their particular situation. Joan Bolker, cofounder of the Harvard Writing Center, offers invaluable suggestions for "blocked" writers. She encourages them to discover individual work plans that promote productivity. Using field-tested strategies and positive reinforcement, she buoys the student through the entire process—from choosing a topic and advisor to setting short-term deadlines, revising, defending the thesis, and deciding whether to publish.
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IF YOU ENJOY RESEARCH and writing, some of the greatest gifts life can offer you are time, space, and a good rationalization for devoting yourself to a project that truly interests you. But there are many other stances from which to approach writing a doctoral dissertation. Most of the students I meet in my work don’t often think of their dissertation projects with joyful anticipation. Instead, they’re overwhelmed by the size of the task, or they don’t consider themselves scholars, or they are scared that they’re not up to it, or they don’t even know