THE NO-FAIL SECRET TO writing a dissertation:
Writing is thinking. It takes time and it’s supposed to be challenging. The biggest mistake I’ve seen most graduate students make is to mythologize what I call “the moment of genius.” Because writing is thinking, brilliant thoughts do not just appear on the page after long hours of arduous musing on a subject. In my experience, the best ideas almost always come about through the act of writing itself—usually just at that moment when you’ve run out of steam and are staring down a seemingly intractable problem, desperately wanting to quit. These are the breakthrough moments. When you’re writing a dissertation, one of the most difficult intellectual tasks a person can do, commitment to the writing process is far more important than genius. If the smartest person in the world cannot learn to write, then she won’t be a successful academic. Period.
She’s right. I found it helpful when writing my dissertation to schedule my writing time like a class or any other urgent meeting. When tell yourself you’ll write once you’re done with everything else, you’ll always find something else to do to keep you from writing.