As a dissertation writer, do you ever find yourself “borrowing” problems that aren’t there?

What I mean is, if you ever have a day where you are feeling pretty good, making steady progress, and everything seems OK- and then, suddenly, your mood dips and you start to worry about all the things that could go wrong? Or you start to feel afraid about feeling happy with where you are?

This can take multiple forms, but it all falls under the heading of “borrowing problems you don’t have yet.”

Just to get it out of the way early; this is not something I recommend. 🙂

The dissertation is a series of problems to be solved and questions to be answered. It does, also, have an inherent order or process within which the answers come. No matter how much you worry about potential problems down the road, you still have to deal with the ones that are in front of you, first, and have faith that you will be able to figure out the others when you get there.

When you feel overwhelmed or anxious, you have, in a way, lost faith that you can overcome any and all challenges. For some of you, yes, the challenges are heroic- and overwhelming. Too many things are going wrong in a short span of time. Yet, for others of you, the challenges are more like small blips on the radar of your life- ones that you can address and move on from quickly, if you let yourself.

Worrying about the future is the fastest way to mortgage the present. You aren’t happy now, and no amount of worrying now can stop pain or concern in the future. You can inure yourself to pain; you can only manage it to the best of your ability when the need to do so arises.

It can be difficult to keep working forward and staying focused on just the problem(s) that are in front of you. We naturally want to jump ahead several steps and try to prepare ourselves for things in the future (which might, actually, never even happen at all!)

Yet I see, over and over again, that the dissertation is a changeable process and what you planned three weeks ago may need to change three weeks alter. So, as much as possible, try to keep your focus on first things first, and work on the challenges in front of you before borrowing ones that may never come.