Writers and academics:

Have you been dragging your heels for days weeks months years struggling with your book or thesis?

  • You resolve to spend six hours on the job tomorrow, but somehow those hours waft away in meetings, exercise, mindless chores and coffee (or beer!) with friends. The time feels impossible to grasp because it seems as insubstantial as smoke.
  • You read every book you can find on writing and time management — jumping from one strategy to the next as you desperately try to find a plan for finishing your writing.
  • You can never estimate how long it’s going to take you to do anything. That 500-word chapter beginning or introductory statement shouldn’t take you more than two hours, should it? But why does any writing always take 10 times longer than you planned?
  • You keep telling yourself that this book or thesis is your number 1 goal — and yet, every day, a zillion other urgent “fires” need putting out, distracting your attention.
  • You’re so frustrated with your writing project, it honestly feels as though quitting would be the smartest decision. Why should you keep torturing yourself this way?

How a PhD student finished her dissertation and learned to make writing and academic life so much easier and more enjoyable

Lyana Patrick not only wanted a degree in community planning, she also had to find time for her job and family. How could she fit it all in?


How a high school science teacher started writing a non-fiction book, stopped editing while he wrote and found an agent

Fred Estes started by writing only when inspiration struck. The Get it Done program helped him work faster and build a reliable daily writing habit.

FREE workshop:

 “How to make academic writing faster and EASIER for yourself”

Friday, April 17
1 pm Pacific

Email Daphne if you’d like to attend the event

Application deadline is
for group starting APRIL 1.

DEADLINE for applications for the next Get It Done group, starting April 1 is

Thursday, March 26

Complete application form here 

“To begin, begin…”

— William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Writing isn’t as difficult as performing neurosurgery or designing a skyscraper, but the job can seem positively overwhelming. Most books require 60,000 to 80,000 words, and most theses need somewhere between 40,000 and 150,000 words. (I know that’s a super-wide range. I don’t make up the rules! The length depends on your area of study. Most Science theses are at the shorter end. History and Education theses tend to be at the longer end of the range.)

Some people are smart enough to get the help they need right away. Others delay and procrastinate and wait until the deadline becomes a crisis.

The 5 reasons book and thesis writers often fail

Finishing a book or a thesis doesn’t happen to people who have the best ideas. Or to people who work the hardest. The prize — holding your finished product in your hands — goes to people who manage their time and their emotions the best.

Reason 1:
Figuring that hard work alone will do the trick

Do you recognize that finishing a book or a thesis is a marathon, not a sprint? And do you have the know-how to motivate yourself to write even on days when you really, really, really don’t feel like sitting in your chair?

But writing isn’t all about the work. It’s about self-management. It’s about knowing what to do when you hit a brick wall. It’s about the hundred and one steps you can take to get around the predictable problems and challenges facing ALL writers.

Many other people have written successful books and theses. Isn’t it time to learn their tricks and techniques? You can work smart rather than hard.

help writers find time to write

Our society loves individualists. We admire the quirkiness of Richard Branson. The strength of Angela Merkel. The smarts of Warren Buffett. The determination of Arianna Huffington. But we forget that each of these people has a sea of supporters behind them.

Reason 2:
Failing to get an accountability partner

As a writer, you need supporters too. It’s tempting to approach writing as a lonely, solitary task, with you leaning over your laptop in a garret or garage. But if you aren’t accountable to an outside person, it’s way too easy to let deadlines slip by.

Deadlines for books and theses are measured in months or years, not hours or days. "Phew!" you say. "Then it’s not such a big deal if I miss a day or two here or there." Wrong. It IS a big deal. Because successful writers know that it’s the slow, daily accumulation of words that allows them to meet their long-range goals.

How do they stick to their writing plans? They have an accountability partner. Just as you might go for a regular run with a friend or have a gym buddy, a writing accountability partner helps make sure you deliver.

making negative feedback positive

Many people swear they don’t multitask. If you think that describes you, consider the following questions:

  • Do you turn off your cellphone when you’re writing?
  • Do you collect your email manually, only after you’ve finished writing
  • Do you refuse to check the spelling of names or other details when you’re writing?