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  • Writer's pictureLeeyanne Moore

How to Overcome the ABD Hurdle: 3 Perspectives on Finishing Your Dissertation

You have ground to a halt trying to finish your dissertion or master's thesis. What to do? These three mental shifts can help.

1)    Set Expectations: This is the start of a journey

This dissertation doesn't need to share all of your ideas, all of your theories. It's just sharing a part of them. This is the beginning of your academic career. It's okay to narrow your focus. Sometimes people try to throw everything but the kitchen sink into their thesis. See what you can trim. It's okay--you will get to those ideas in future papers, future books. But for now, create a dissertation project that doesn't sprawl. Give yourself a manageable project you can complete in a year. The job interview is the place to discuss your larger passion for your research.


2)    Get Specific: The Dissertation is a Blank Screen Upon Which You Can Project All Your Neurosis--Bring Your Thoughts Down to a Practical Level Instead

         Focus on setting goals--goals you think you can manage. Dismiss thoughts like "Am I good enough?" "Will this dissertation be good enough to get me a job?" Don't worry about that now. Just see if you can write the next line, the next paragraph. Once you go three days writing a paragraph, try for five paragraphs. Dismiss angsty open ended questions thoughts. You'll think about all that later, after your dissertation is done.


3)    What has motivated you in the past?

         Think about your past successes. Is it practical to recreate those conditions now? Do you work best with other people working around you? Try working at a cafe with set hours for yourself. Do you work best if you have weekly accountability? Call me. If you take a moment to think about what conditions in the past allowed you to thrive, you might be able to gain momentum by recreating them now.


Bye, my friends! I hope this was helpful. Feel free to leave comments or questions below. 

As always, if you or someone you’re raising is interested in writing a big project, you can let me know in the contact form and we can chat about you/your learner and the project to see if I can help.

Leeyanne Moore bio


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