You have a stack of research materials, a nebulous yet promising topic, and a looming deadline. Now, how do you actually write?
In my work with graduate students, I am often asked for concrete strategies for writing. How to transform ideas into writing? How to finish that dissertation, book, or article? And how to stay motivated and sane during the writing process?
I have found that the best recipe for sustained intellectual productivity is a mix of structured writing practices, time management strategies, and holistic lifestyle support.
In the next eight posts, I will be sharing with you my top eight practical strategies for focused, sustained writing—ways to create the space and structure to shepherd unarticulated ideas into a cogently written argument. While targeted at the dissertation writer, this advice can be used by graduate students drafting their proposal, junior faculty members rewriting the dissertation into a book, and scholars working on articles. Regardless of the type of project, healthy writing strategies—as opposed to staying-up-all-night marathons—are crucial. My hope is that these strategies also help advisers to support their PhD students through the nuts and bolts of the writing process.
[The entire article appears as "Practical Advice for Writing Your Dissertation, Book, or Article" by Liena Vayzman, in Perspectives, the journal of the American Historical Association, accessible online.]