If you’ve been reading my blog or newsletter for a while, you’ll know that I don’t suggest strategies to you unless I have tried them and seen that they work. In many cases, I’ve been my own first case study, noting what works for me, and then, after that, asking my clients to try out my strategies and see if they work for them too. When they do, these strategies become what I share and coach/teach.
Every now and then, I take stock of what I’m teaching/coaching on, and I test it out once again. This was the case recently as I wrote a 56,000 word book manuscript in 25 days.
This, while juggling a grueling workout schedule, a busy personal life, and a growing second business.
I’m glad to report that the strategies I share with you here still work.
The ones, in particular, that helped me write so much so quickly:
1) Being clear on my goal. I set the clear goal of writing my book draft in 30 days. I calculated that to write 56,000 words in 30 days, I’d need to produce about 1867 words per day. I made this my measurable goal.
2) I put the appointment in my calendar. I added in “book writing” each day without fail for 30 days.
3) I drafted an outline for my book and individual chapters. This way, I knew what I wanted to communicate and in what order.
4) I wrote. Sometimes I wrote first thing in the morning, sometimes at the end of the day, but each day, I put myself in my chair, and I wrote.
5) I made up when I missed deadlines. It would be great if my writing plan went 100% perfectly, but it didn’t. There were days where I wrote less, and sometimes couldn’t write at all. I made up for these lost days and kept going. No excuses.
6) I kept my eyes on the prize. About 20 days in, I started to get tired and fatigued of this pace. I began to get irritable and wonder if my book was any good. I kept writing.
7) I set up a reward for when I finished my draft. I used this to keep me motivated and propelling forward even when I wanted to stop.
8) I gave myself my reward immediately after finishing my draft. And it was wonderful.
9) I took a break for a few days and then stepped back into the draft to begin revising. The few days of space in between helped me shift from the process of creating new thoughts to reviewing and completing the ones I’d written.
10) I believed that I could do this. Certainly, some of this belief was there at the beginning, but it was bolstered by each day that I showed up and kept my word with myself. As my word count climbed, I rememeber the notable shift from wondering if i could do this to realizing I was.
Now, why do I share this with you?
It’s to show you what is possible when these factors line up.
I began dissertation coaching back in 2001, and since then, I’ve worked with so many dissertation writers who are caught in the throes of negative self talk and low self confidence. They never let themselves build momentum, because they never work on their projects in a consistent enough way to actually build momentum. It is so much more difficult to stop and start than it is to keep going.
The longer a goal takes you to reach, the less likely you are to reach it.
I don’t know how to express this more clearly than I have been for the past 12 years. You can accomplish great things in a short amount of time with the right plan, the right focus, and the right action.
You don’t need to write as much as I did in this short of a time frame, but you do need to write regularly. In a way, this process was a bit like “binge-writing” which I have warned against. The difference in this case, though, was I wrote and I finished. I completed what I planned to do.
I have historically cautioned against binge-writing and binge avoidance, but this doesn’t hold if your binge writing actually leads you to finish something meaningful. Sometimes you need to push on through, if your pushing leads you somewhere meaningful.
Did I suffer somewhat in this process? Yes. I got tired. I got irritable. I began to doubt myself and question my ideas.
But none of those feelings, by themselves, were good reasons to stop going.
So why did I set such an aggressive goal in the first place? Good question. Mostly, I guess, because I had been thinking about writing my next book for several months, and I grew tired of this goal occupying my brain when I wasn’t doing anything to achieve it. Maybe you can relate?
I realize that, for me, I am much better able to accomplish big tasks in less time. When they take too long, I become bored and lose interest.
More than anything, though, I realized that I wanted this goal for myself. I wanted it for me. I didn’t need to be rescued from it, or to make excuses, or to find ways to avoid it- because I really, really wanted it.
While I’m stepping away from the dissertation coaching arena, as I have another business which is taking off and which I am really enjoying, I do have coaches ready to help you complete the dissertation if you really want to.
Stop falling into the trap of believing that this dissertation is for anyone except yourself. Stop falling into the trap of thinking that more time equals better results. Stop letting yourself wallow in the angst and unhappiness of your goals unrealized. Stop believing that your dissertation writing process will happen at a better time.
And, by the way, I used a very wonderful software program to make writing this book a breeze. If you haven’t heard of Scrivener, you should know about it. It rocks.
Learn more here: