Here are a number of ideas to overcome writers block. The one that is probably the most popular is to write about what you care about most. Since the first three chapters of your dissertation collectively are the Proposal, there are numerous sections that need to be addressed or revised. Pick one section that is a favorite topic of yours. And write what you know to be true or believe is true about that topic. Don’t worry about the literature at this time. You can always add studies later to support and validate the points you are making.

An additional little trick that helped me when I was stuck is to print out the latest version of the chapter you are working on and stapling it together. I would put today’s date at the top and hold it in my hands. It felt good. I had evidence that I was getting my “dissertation book” done. Yes, it is a book. Unfortunately when we’re writing it, it appears to be just words and symbols on the computer screen. When I held more and more pages in my hands, I had the real feeling that I was moving toward dissertation completion. You may want to invest in the business cards with your name and doctoral degree posted, e.g. John Doe, Ph.D. You can place one in each of four locations: (1) on the mirror in your bathroom, (2) somewhere on your dashboard – as long as you do not cover any of the gauges, (3) in prominent place inside your wallet so that when you open it, the first thing you see is your new business card, and (4) on top of the box of cards beside your bed. Seeing these cards will create embedded commands in your mind that will help you to feel better about the dissertation activities you are working on, since you will see your name and degree on them. You can write, “dissertation completion,” in your appointment book and commit to writing or revising parts of your dissertation for 30 minutes a day. In her book, Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day, Joan Bolker, Ed.D.,is even more optimistic that such a short period of time (15 minutes) could trigger more writing. That may be just enough time to make some progress with a paragraph or two. You want your ideas to be fresh in your mind. On some days you will feel more inspired and have more energy. Then you may write for an extended period of time. I hope you’ll visit my website,, and click on the section at the top of the homepage entitled Inspirations and Insights. These are quotations from some the most famous and profound thinkers anyone ever heard of. You may not agree with all of their ideas, but I’m sure some will have true personal meaning for you and lead you to write more. Another way to deal with writers block is to take the words “I am…” and add whatever you want to add at the end of that phrase, such as I am completing my dissertation; I am comfortably writing my dissertation; or another statement you like. You can think of a few other ways to complete that statement that have profound importance for you. Then mentally repeat the statement to yourself over and over again. “I am…” statements are powerful thoughts you will be giving to yourself.

I suggest you use all of these approaches, not just one, to help you get more activated, improve your progress, and complete your doctoral dissertation. You only have to do your dissertation research once and you get to be Dr.__________ forever. It’s a great payoff, don’t you think?