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Knowledge gained
Knowledge gained

Today's Episode:

  • My progress
  • Lessons Learned in the Process, so far
  • Upcoming Topics

Date: July 16, 2013

Name: Dissertation Writing

Topic: The Proposal

Milestones: Chapter 1 revisions

Summary:  Not as much progress was made this week mostly due to starting with career changes, in search of a new one.

I am still gathering and all my articles for my literature review.

Risk: Over thinking the process and getting stuck

Risk Mitigation Strategy: Meditation, work on a different section, and working on smaller chunks.

Project timeline: On Time

Committee Member: Dr. Walter McCollum & Dr. Anthony Lolas


Lessons Learned in the Process, so far:

The first thing I learned was that I edit as I type which is painstakingly slow. This has been a problem for me in many aspects of writing whether it's my dissertation, a screenplay or even a novel. It's okay to make a mess on your first draft. An argument has been made that you should make your first draft as messy as you want, then clean it up later (Bolker, 1998; Simon & Goes, 2013). The one thing I have been working on is that I have to learn to follow Bolker's (1998) advice which is if it doesn't sound okay while you're writing, make a note and move on. Wish me luck!

The other think that I learned was that I have never been a good out-liner; however, I have learned the value in doing them. I'm what they call in the fiction writers world, a pantser. A pantser is someone that writes off the top of their head or by the seat of their pants. Yes, I have an idea where the story is going but not sure how I'm going to get there. Not recommended for any writing, especially scholarly writing, you have to get your reader from point A to point B which is why you need a map to get there. So one of the things I did to help was to basically do a more detailed outline then the one I used for the table of contents.

The last thing I learned was never to give up and build that support system. This dissertation process has been a huge challenge for me and almost made me quit which is why I started looking at persistence, the fortitude of continuing even though there is a desire to quit, of students in e-learning programs (Terrell, Snyder, & Dringus, 2012). Here I managed to focus on the podcast a lot more and positioned myself to help with a weekly dissertation cohort which allows students to connect with others going through similar issues.

Upcoming Episodes:

I will be exploring various risks or challenges that you may encounter on your scholarly journey and tips to get through them.


Bolker, J. (1998). Writing your dissertation in fifteen minutes a day: A guide to starting, revising, and finishing your doctoral thesis. USA: New York, NY.

Simon, M. K. (2010). Dissertation & scholarly research: Recipes for success. (2nd ed.). USA: Dissertation Success, LLC.

Terrell, S. R., Snyder, M. M., & Dringus, L. P. (2012). A grounded theory of connectivity and persistence in a limited residency doctoral program. The Qualitative Report17(62), 1-14. Retrieved from



Banging away at keyboard... Yea right!

Today's Episode:

  • My progress
  • Challenges in my Dissertation Process
  • APA Tools
    • Perdue Online Writing Lab
    • Son of Citation Machine

Date: July 7-13, 2013

Name: Dissertation Writing

Topic: Chapter 1 & 2

Milestones: Chapter 1 final revisions and started Chapter 2

Summary: Chapter 1 first revisions returned from the writing center July 5th, got it back for second revision, and preparing for final review by my committee. I found out today that I started getting off topic and have to narrow my focus. I started gathering all my articles for my literature review.

Risk: Over thinking the process, getting stuck, and creating a work space

Risk Mitigation Strategy: Reverse engineer a dissertation, cleaned my office, opened a window, prioritized my library, and started meditating.

Project timeline: On Time

Committee Members: Dr. Walter McCollum & Dr. Anthony Lolas


Challenges in my Dissertation Process

After I went to Atlanta for a Dissertation Intensive workshop at the end of April, I was able to clarify my gap in the literature and discovered that having methodologists and a writing center staff member is beneficial. The focus of the workshop were on the proposal. I highly recommend this experience if you can do it because it forces you to focus your energy on writing. The hotel also went out of their way to make sure that we had a proper environment for writing and learning. Basically, this was a weekend of no distractions. One strategy was suggested that I actually spent a while on, reverse engineer a dissertation.

However, after hitting such a high note several issues popped up. First was writers block which was caused by over thinking and doubting my work. As a result I had to re-think my writing process to be more than sitting my butt in the seat and typing words on a blank computer screen. The other thing is I have a tendency to criticize or edit my work as I type, not recommended because it slows the process and keeps words from getting on the page. Then I had stress from my job which ended when I got laid off at the end of June; now the stress of whether or not I have the funds to see me through to the end are starting to sink in. Finally, technology decided to rear its ugly head when a lightning storm took out 2 computers, 2 TVs and the Internet at home and insurance or warranties didn't cover any of it.

I have now sworn off PCs and am completely a Mac person. The nice thing about a Mac over the PC is that I can have the best of both worlds because I can run any Windows version on my Mac desktop. Best of all, in the last seven years between my MacBook Pro and the iMac, I have never had a virus.

For all your APA citation needs:

Purdue Online Writing Lab - APA (American Psychological Association) is the style primarily used in scholarly writing except in journal articles which have their own citation rules and may use other formats. I have used this site while writing papers for class, KAMs and now the dissertation. I hope you find this as useful as I have and make it a favorite or bookmark in your web browsers.

APA 6th Edition Citation Generator:

Son of Citation Machine -


Dropbox: My favorite tool for keeping my files current, handy on all the computers I work with, and it's free. What I love about @Dropbox is that I always have my stuff when I need it. Sign up for free!

Skype - Free Internet calls and cheap calls to phones online

Skype App Directory - Desktop & whiteboard sharing - Free Telephone Conference Call Service

Audible Recommendation:

Meditations to Change Your Brain: Rewire Your Neural Pathways to Transform Your Life 

Get free copy at

Book Recommendation:

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

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