28 Oct

writing my thesis with the help of nanowrimo

I have blogged before about using the Pomodoro Technique to focus and get motivated on work. I’ve been Pomodoroing like a mad woman to get my PhD interview transcripts coded (I’m still going, but I’m nearly done! Ish.). I like the structure the Pomodoro sessions provide and the motivation that comes from doing these sessions with someone else.

On 1 November, I start writing my findings chapter in earnest. This will include writing lots of memos as well as integrated, coherent sections of my findings chapter. I need all the help I can get on the motivation front to get this findings chapter written, preferably by the end of the month.

Fortuitously, November is also the month of NaNoWriMo, when aspiring and published authors alike commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in a month. So this November, I’m doing my own version, which I’m calling DisWriMo. I am definitely not the first person to think of using NaNoWriMo to get a chunk of academic writing done. If you Google NaNoWriMo thesis or NaThWriMo, you’ll find other people have done this before.  And there’s a whole bunch of NaNo Rebels who are doing academic writing this year. [Update: AcWriMo 2013 is go!]

I’ll be aiming to write 1666 words a day, every day in November. Seeing I have a lot of writing to get done, I’m going to be tough and not allow any extra words I write on any given day to count against the next day’s target. So if I write over 1666 words in one day, then the rest are just a bonus.

Of course, if I have a 50,000 word findings chapter, I will have the most unhappy examiners in the history of PhDs, so I will be writing some other parts of the thesis during this time too. In particular, I’ll be writing a chapter about my participants and some additional content for my method chapter.

I know this is going to be hard work but I’m telling myself it’s only a month. One month to get a big chunk of my writing done. One month of berating myself in my head about setting such a high daily target. One month of limited time for other stuff, including leisure time. Just one month.

And at the other end, my thesis will be 50,000 words better off.

2 thoughts on “writing my thesis with the help of nanowrimo

  1. That sounds fantastic! I don’t understand though why you would not allow more words than the target written on one day to count for the next? You might be more motivated one day, and less the day after… If it did count the exercise would maybe feel more like a game, where you have some extra magic mushrooms saved up for rainy days 😉

    • You know, you’re right! I have fond memories of playing with my Sega Mega Drive and accumulating extra lives (which we called ‘eckies’), so maybe I will wrack up these eckies and cut myself some slack. Accumulating extra words will make it more manageable. I just have to make sure I don’t write under and think, ‘I’ll just make it up tomorrow’… Cause I do have a tendency to leave difficult stuff for later…

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