Wednesday, January 6, 2016

“Write Your Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day” by Joan Bolker

When you see such kind of titles, you are sure that the dissertation catastrophe is averted and you can breathe freely. But it’s not completely true: even if you are following the schedule (I don’t even mention you falling behind), 15 minutes a day won’t make the dissertation written on time and the author of “Write Your Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day” fully agrees with it.

This book is a quick read (only 150 pages) and if you hope that after covering it you’ll sit and finish your paper, you’re wrong. It also contains some outdated info like pros and cons of using a computer which is understandable due to the time it was written (1997). But I believe that everybody who has a thesis to produce MUST read Joan Bolker. Sounds contradictory? I’ll justify my point. This book:
  • Outlines the process of dissertation writing and you approximately know what you are getting into;
  • Prepares you morally and gives you some food for thought on how to set realistic goals and what barriers you may face down the road;
  • Offers different types of writing for various types of people (free writing, zero draft, writing every day, sketching out your ideas all the time before you move to the next step, write first, etc.).

But those are not the most important things. The whole point of this book is that it forces you to develop a daily writing habit that can keep you from getting stuck (writer’s block is a frequent phenomenon in academic writing). Instead of freaking out that your dissertation is far from the stage it should be on, you can engage in a productive daily routine that will bring you much more fruit than you can imagine. If you find time to work on your project every day, you’ll spend more than 15 minutes and produce great writing. And to end my review of “Write Your Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day” by Joan Bolker, I’ll quote Megan from Goodreads: “So this book is not a miracle worker. It doesn't write your dissertation for you. It doesn't even promise what the title suggests it might. But it is honest, sometimes funny, and often inspiring - which is pretty good for a book on writing nonfiction.”