You’re knee-deep or, more accurately, file/notecard/article/laptop-deep in your dissertation. You don’t hear anything around you—refrigerator opening, kids tussling, clothes washer whirring. You don’t even hear your name called for dinner. When you come up for air, you realize that your partner hasn’t spoken to you for days. When they do, it’s only to wail, “I never see you anymore!”
In their recent TAA webinar, “Writing a Dissertation and Beyond: Tips & Tools for Launching and Maintaining Your Academic Writing Productivity“, presenters Danielle Feeney and Margarita Huerta discuss research-based, practical tools and tips that have helped them successfully complete dissertations and launch productive academic careers. Among the tips and tools shared during their presentation was the use of a writing matrix.
As is often the case during this holiday season, sources of academic writing experience and wisdom are quieter than usual, and those making noise across the internet are often reflective as we close one year and prepare for the next. In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we found both advice for improving writing, research, and impact, as well as reflections on some of the accomplishments and best advice of 2019.
Ray Bradbury once wrote, “And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right.” In this last weekly post of 2019, we remind you that your writing is a gift and one that you should treasure year-round. See you again in 2020! Happy writing!
In your dissertation trek, you may have a chair and committee who are steady, consistent, and infinitely supportive. If not, my condolences.
Students frequently describe their committees as just wanting to push those dissertations through, get their pittance, devote their time to revising and publishing their own (hard-won) dissertation, and jockeying for tenure. Graduate students also make the frequent mistake of thinking that their committees are reasonable, logical, well- organized, prompt about returning phone calls and manuscripts, and enjoying a balanced life, happy in their work. Rarely.
I can’t do this! What were they thinking when they picked me to write this textbook? Who am I to be conducting this research? Everyone at this presentation is going to know I all of this already. I have nothing new to offer to this conversation.
These are just a few of the messages that imposter syndrome may share with you as an author in academia. And each can be the wall that limits or delays our success. Or we can find ways to get a reality check and overcome these false feelings of being unqualified for the task at hand. Below I offer five such ways to combat imposter syndrome.
If you are in the throes of your dissertation, you probably realize that, other than yourself, your family is most affected by your dissertation, and they most affect your progress. It can be hard for family members to understand what you’re going through and must continue to endure for several years.
A poignant example from one of my dissertation coaching clients: Ava wailed to me, “I get calls daily from my mother, my three sisters, and my two cousins! They all say they’re tired of me not coming to the family events. I had to go to the reunion!”
Like Ava’s relatives, family can start squeezing you.