Dissertation Writing

So, I’ve spent the past month¬† working on my dissertation proposal. Typically, I spend around 3 hours a morning working on it about 5 days a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Depends on how the morning goes or how distracted I get.

You know, starting after breakfast at 9:30. Have the blinds closed, document open and at the ready, and then the next thing I know I’m on Wikipedia reading about the history of Kyrgyzstan¬† or watching Stephen Colbert on YouTube.

One thing I’ve learned: writing a dissertation proposal is hard work. It’s not something I would have suspected when I first started, but by God is planning more difficult than writing.

Up to this point, the number of times I’ve planned how to structure and write a paper in advance has been, well, never. Usually when writing, I start writing and see where it takes me. That doesn’t mean it’s aimless. I can see destinations it needs to reach, but I’m never sure about how to link them until I get it down in writing.

Working on a document whose sole purpose is to plan, plot and structure my upcoming dissertation honestly feels like more work than writing the actual dissertation will be. I suppose that’s a good thing, since it lets me figure out exactly what I’ll be writing about. But still…

It’s remarkable how counter-intuitive the process of planning feels. How contrary to my normal work ethic it is.

On the bright side, my final paper doesn’t have to strictly adhere to the proposal; rather, the proposal is more symbolic than anything else, as it shows I have the ability to plan out a massive paper, whether that paper looks like the proposal or not.


By alexander

Drinker of bad wine and writer of many things. Alexander writes fiction, manages a team of SEOs, and dabbles in food history. He also has a Doctorate in North American Religion and Culture and used to teach at Concordia University.