Department: Political Science
Year in Program: 5th
I devised an approximate timeline to completion when I defended my dissertation proposal, so my research and writing have been structured around the dates that I tentatively determined for chapter submission and revision.
I am now working on my first substantive chapter, which I initially gave myself three months to write. The first two months were spent researching; this month has been spent writing.
When writing, I try to spend the most productive part of each day typing prose on the computer and nothing else, which usually entails two or three undivided work hours in the morning. The rest of the time is spent refining the outline and preparing content.
I try to work five or six days a week because each day spent away from the dissertation requires additional time for getting resettled and reacquainted with the current state of the writing.
I give my advisers repeated advanced notice about my submission date so that they can anticipate receiving my writing and plan their reading and review time accordingly.
I also try to write bi-monthly updates about my research and especially my interview findings, to keep my advisers in the loop about how the project is developing and emphasize that I value their input.
Writing these updates has the additional benefits of clarifying and marking the evolution of my thinking.