I loved taking the classes, writing the papers, executing the projects, etc for this doctorate in epidemiology. I'm having the hardest time staying focused on the dissertation. I attend Walden University and love the online experience. Walden structures its dissertation writing so that you must register for a class with classmates who have the same chairperson. Each quarter is dedicated to different parts of the writing process. The first part is Chapter 2 - literature review. I have to review the literature and present these findings in light of my dissertation topic. Fairly straight forward except I am suffering from the worst inertia. I know it's inertia. I've written nothing for about 6 months - 1 1/2 semesters. As a result I am now on academic probation. I must pass my current class with an S (satisfactory) to remain in the program.

Please hold me in the light.

Views: 714

Comment by Karen Riis-Hansen on 6th mo. 26, 2010 at 11:55am
Hi Paula.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I think I know just the way you are feeling. I am myself trying to get around to writing my master thesis so that I can finally finish graduate school and become a psychologist at the ripe old age of 35. Inertia and procrastination have become the elemental pillars of my life during this writing process, it seems. I spend a lot of time doing everything but working om my thesis: I must have the cleanest house in town and I have sewn enough quilts and aprons (-: to last me a life time. I do try to get the thesis done.....and on good days I succed in getting some writing done. I have found good help to overcome writers block, lack of will power, inertia, procrastination...whatever you may call it at: www.abdsurvivalguide.com I hope this may be a help to you. You'll be in my thoughts.
- Karen
Comment by Paula Roberts on 6th mo. 26, 2010 at 12:04pm
Karen, thank you so much. It means so much to hear someone else going through this issue. It can feel so isolating can't it? Also it's hard to talk about to other people. They say useful things like "you just have to get it done"! I mean that's as useful as telling a spendthrift "you just have to stop spending money you don't have!". I like your phrasing, "Inertia and procrastination have become the elemental pillars of my life during this writing process...". That's brilliant.

I've subscribed to the link you sent. Thank you so much for that.

Last night I deconstructed one article for my literature review, put it into my matrix (table) and will sit down and write the review today. It helped very much to confess to this blog, to ask for help, and to enter into a contract with a sister-friend to call her at 10 pm with a progress report.
Comment by Rosemary Gould on 6th mo. 27, 2010 at 8:39am
I'll hold you in the Light, Paula. I've been there. For many writers, writer's block comes out of perfectionism. It's hard to muster the courage to do it if you fear it won't be as good as you want it to be when it's done. Maybe if you spend some time in prayer and meditation every day before you work, you will be given strength to let go of that.
Comment by Paula Roberts on 6th mo. 27, 2010 at 11:17pm
Thank you Rosemary. Oddly it never occurred to me to take some time in silence or prayer before writing. As we used to say when we were young, DUH. I am going to do that from now on.
Comment by Rosemary Gould on 6th mo. 28, 2010 at 3:29pm
I tend to be an anxious person, so a particular message from worship has stuck with me for a long time. There was the reading of the Baltimore Yearly Meeting query on "personal way of life," which ends "Do you try to direct such emotions as anger and fear in creative ways?" This Friend stood and said that while he could understand how to direct anger in a creative way, he wondered how fear could be directed creatively. And the answer that was the message was the line from Psalm 56, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee."
Comment by Paula Roberts on 6th mo. 28, 2010 at 8:18pm
I tend to be an anxious person as well, but in a private stomach ulcer-inducing way not really in a public display of anxiety way. As a result people tend to think I have it together when I don't. This is why I'm practicing this confession/full disclosure method of telling people how I feel. Often the secret suffering weighs more heavily on me than disclosure. Not to mention disclosure opens me to help and support from others. The thing that frightens and frustrates me is that academic probation means I have no more "get out of jail free" cards. I have to produce acceptable work (Satisfactory) for every semester from here on. The idea of it was so daunting I felt like quitting right now (quitting before getting fired as it were). Instead I know that I will be able to produce my Chapter 2 this semester, but then next semester I will not register for class even though it means that I won't have access to my committee during that time. I will use the off time to recover and then come back with my methods chapter the following semester. And I will definitely remember to take some time in silence before I sit down to work.
Comment by Rosemary Gould on 6th mo. 28, 2010 at 9:05pm
That's a hard place to be. Remember to be kind to yourself. I know that's a cliche, but seriously it's important.
Comment by Paula Roberts on 6th mo. 29, 2010 at 8:03am
Thanks, Rosemary. I have to remember to be kind to myself. I give people that advice all the time. It is real, it is true, and it is tough. I'm trying to change my reaction to these kinds of things. For example this morning I was sleepless at 5 ish am so instead of lying in bed I got up, took my shower, put on my cap and dress and took my dog for a walk. It worked out well. Not only was it much cooler for him that early in the morning than later in the day, but I recognized walking in the silence of the park was an act of prayer or meditation. I've returned home refreshed and in a much better frame of mind than if I'd stayed in bed tossing and turning and stressing. I even emailed my chair to find out exactly what I need to produce this semester in order to receive that S (satisfactory). Even though I have an idea that I need to have a complete draft of Chapter 2 I know it is important to keep him in the loop and do exactly what he says.

Thank you some more.
Comment by Paula Roberts on 6th mo. 30, 2010 at 7:30pm
I spoke to my committee chair about what I need to do exactly in order to receive a satisfactory (S) grade this semester. He's laid out a plan that seems doable. In fact the back and forth exchange between us motivated me to get some writing done today. It is interesting how well I can give advice and how poorly I take the same advice. I tell my online students how easy it is to feel isolated in their work but to realize that they are not and that they must reach out when they need help. Do I take my own advice....reluctantly.
Comment by Rosemary Gould on 6th mo. 30, 2010 at 9:03pm
I know what you mean. I love to give advice. It'd be nice to think we had progressed beyond needing it, but then, you know, it really wouldn't be nice at all. Better to move in the other direction and seek help more and more.


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