March 11, 2008

A Great Dissertation Guide

While I was working on my prospectus I read a couple of "dissertation guides" and this one is really great. It is written by Sonja Foss (of "Foss, Foss and Trap" fame) and William Waters and is titled Destination Dissertation: A Traveler's Guide to a Done Dissertation (2007). This book is a great guide--it keeps things in the positive and works on keeping your confidence intact while you are going through the dissertation process. One especially good device is that it tells you approximately how many hours you should spend on each part of your dissertation. Another thing that really helps is that the folks who wrote this book are in our discipline...something that other books don't have.

March 3, 2008

Circles of Writing

Well, it's not necessarily a straight line from here (writing a prospectus) to there (defending a dissertation). In fact, I've discovered that I can get pretty tightly flumoxed--trying to write my way out of circular writing that isn't going in the direction I want. And I've talked to several dissertators who have similar stories to tell. A couple of weeks ago I swallowed my pride and asked if I could make an appointment for a writing consultation in the Center for Writing; they welcomed me with enthusiasm.

Full disclosure: I work there as a consultant. It seemed to me that I should be able to help myself. Everyone assures me that isn't necessarily the case--that it's wonderful to talk to someone, have that person look at what you're doing, and then coach you to get yourself out of the muddle and moving in a useful direction again. It was a great experience. I'll be glad to get to the point of some other dissertators who are coming in for a weekly scheduled consultation and have done that for a year.

I'm not done with my dissertation yet (sorry to admit that...). But I'm beginning to think I might actually get it written. My friends keep asking if they could at least see a title page. um, no....