Dissertation Writing Tips: How to Finish Ahead of Schedule

A stack of books with a pad open, obviously indicating that someone is following my dissertation writing tips!

Are you a graduate student trying to write a dissertation? Here are some dissertation writing tips and tricks for finishing on time without frustration. You can use some of these ideas no matter what you’re writing. Feel free to comment below about your situation if you want any specific suggestions not on this list.

Try this:

1. Write a minimum of 250 words a day on a regular basis (wherever works: for me, it was a cafe).

2. Don’t labour over every word (separate the writing and editing phases, edit later).

3. You’re likely to go over 250 and feel good doing it. After a few days/weeks, you’ll have a good chunk of text done that you can edit.

4. Set a hard deadline for rereading and editing that “Ugly First Draft, as Ann Handley calls it.

5. Then send it to your supervisor. They usually need a lot of time to look at it. Sometimes months.

6. Don’t wait for the feedback: write something else in the meanwhile.

7. Don’t fret over the order of your writing, at first. (You can start with the middle of the last chapter.) If you’re ever stuck, feel free to jump to something else. Just write!

8. As you accumulate edited content, start to piece it together and to fill in the gaps and transitions.

9. Brush it up until you have a completed rough draft of the whole, reread it, and send it off.

10. As you wait for feedback on your complete draft, keep writing! You might end up writing things that will help you respond to feedback that you get, or that you can use for another project or purposes.

You can do it!

I hope you’ve enjoyed these dissertation writing tips. The key points for me were 1-3: writing regularly to hit a reachable goal (starting a positive feedback loop) and not getting stuck editing while writing.

You’ll have to see what works for you.
If they’re helpful, run with them. 

Good luck!

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