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Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis Paperback – Aug 15 1998
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"Fifteen minutes!" you say. "That's too good to be true!" Okay, author Joan Bolker admits she gave her book the title Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day to get the reader's attention. And she admits that it's unlikely you'll actually finish a dissertation at that speed. As she tells her clients, however, a mere 15 minutes is much better than no writing at all when they're stuck. As a clinical psychologist who cofounded the Harvard Writing Center, Bolker has helped hundreds of writers complete their dissertations. She offers suggestions on how to create a writing addiction so that you feel incomplete if you don't write every day and stresses the need to set reasonable goals and deadlines for yourself to keep from getting discouraged. She also offers strategies for dealing with both internal and external distractions and for fending off writer's block. Even more important is the advice on some of the more awkward issues related to dissertation writing, such as how to choose your adviser carefully. (For example, when faced with the tradeoff between a famous advisor who is inaccessible and a less famous advisor who is willing to make time for you, Bolker advises, "If choosing a politically advantageous, famous advisor makes it unlikely that you'll complete your degree, it's clearly not worth it.") The book even includes a helpful appendix for advisers that could become the basis for an honest discussion of what student and adviser can expect from each other. Throughout this excellent book, Bolker acts as a therapist, cheerleader, and drill sergeant, all rolled into one.
While some of the book's advice is of interest only to dissertation writers, much of the information--on battling writer's block, for instance--is valuable to anybody engaged in writing. Rather than being filled with rules defining how to become a great writer, Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day is about finding the process by which you can be the most productive--it's a set of exercises that you can use to find out more about you and the way you write. Along the way, you'll do a bit of writing. And that's what matters, especially when you experience writer's block--as Bolker says, "Write anything, because writing is writing." With its helpful advice and supportive tone, Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day should be required reading for anyone considering writing a dissertation. --C.B. Delaney
About the Author
Editor of the best-selling The Writers Home Companion, Joan Bolker, Ed.D., has taught writing at Harvard, Wellesley, Brandeis, and Bard colleges. She is currently a psychotherapist whose speciality is working with struggling writers. She lives in Newton, Massachusetts.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
As Bolker suggests, if you write as you go, all the bits and pieces begin to thread themselves together. Simply passively reading or collecting data won't do it.
The biggest problem with this approach is that I will almost certainly finish well ahead of the minimum four years required for part-time PhD candidates at my university (the English PhD system is more arduous and longer than the American system).
I highly recommend this book for all PhD and masters students, and I only wish I'd known about it when I was an undergraduate, as it would have helped me tremendously then, also.
The primary thought is to develop the habit of writing. Some of the ideas may sound familiar to you, but they are no less true. Bolker states that you must develop the habit of writing everyday if you are going to build up the stamina and fortitude to completing the task. She does suggest a support group to assist in this.
The biggest draw for this book, for me, was that Bolker is an authority. She started two dissertations, one of which she did not finish. She has also worked with many students in writing their dissertations, and she knows from experience what works and what doesn't (she points out a problem that can arise from writing solely on the computer).
I would recommend this book to anyone beginning the journey to finishing a dissertation. Do not take this information lightly.
I think some of the reviewers wanted a magic bullet for their writers block. There isn't one, writing is work, this book provides some useful tools for you to get that work done faster.
The argument was sound but the book's call was much stronger. I purchased it. It was the best investment that I had made. Whether you are a Phd candidate trying to get your dissertation done or a wannabe intimidated by the thought of having to write one, this book must be on your required reading list!
If you have successfully completed high school, college and graduate school (masters level) then you have already written your fair share of papers. You have the technical and disciplined skills to write. Well then, what is the problem in doing a dissertation?
Bolker teaches one about learning how to develop a process of writing that is best for you. Once done she moves you from the process to the basic mechanics of getting the dissertation done. It is never to late in getting a head start on learning how to finish your doctoral thesis even before you are accepted into a Phd program. Start Now! The book is a tremendous stimulator.
I credit this book with helping me prioritize things when it came time for the actual writing of the paper.
The 15 minutes a day title is a little bit deceptive, however. The program does not necessarily amount to 15 minutes per day strictly. And, that can be unrealistic anyway. I had actually tried a regimen like that before. But, while it can work for awhile, it can be very difficult to maintain depending on one's work schedule or environment.
The biggest help in the book for me (and why I rate it somewhat highly) is that it helped me establish a workable scheudule with my professor. I ended offering some suggestions to my professor as to how often we discussed the paper, etc., and it worked out nicely for both of us. I think when it comes down to it, you can examine the information in this book but tailor it to what your professor expects.
I can say that Bolker's book helped me in eventually turning in my Master's thesis. But, keep in mind that 98% of thesis work (particularly while having a demanding work schedule) is going to be one's own determination and commitment. And, this book is not going to provide that for you!
Most recent customer reviews
Good book for students starting their PhD/applying to PhD programs.
Title is misleading, but she explains that in the introduction. Easy to read with clear examples. Read more
Excellents conseils avec un soupçon d'humour! Un bouquin qui aide à la motivation avant ou pendant la rédaction, particulièrement dans les creux!Published on June 20 2013 by Myriam
Un pep talk sans portée. Bon pour la récupération. Tout est dit dans le titre. Ecrivez 15 minutes par jour et au bout de quelques semaines vous arriverez au... Read morePublished on April 7 2013 by Jazz
Save your money. This book might be a good resource for someone CONSIDERING grad school, but overall, it does not provide any profound advice if you are already in grad school. Read morePublished on April 7 2011 by Jordana
I bought this book just before I began to write my dissertation for a doctorate in counseling psychology. Read morePublished on April 16 2004 by Terry Portis
I am in the middle of writing my masters and this book was perfect for overcoming my writers block. I can't thank the author enough for helping me through this anxiety. Read morePublished on Feb. 7 2004
If you are a Ph.D. student looking into the face of writing your dissertation and you think this book is going to help, think again, and again, and again... Read morePublished on Jan. 14 2004 by Robert L. Gorena
This is a quick read that provides some of the best advice on controlling and writing the dissertation that I've seen. Read morePublished on June 26 2003 by Margaret L. FalerSweany
This is one of the most helpful guides to writing a dissertation ever published. Bolker suggests that students write early and often as they shape their dissertations. Read morePublished on April 27 2003 by Mary McKinney
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