Writing a dissertation proposal can be an anxiety-provoking exercise.  However, there are things you can do to minimize the anxiety and keep yourself on task.  One of the first things you can do is establish a writing schedule, preferably writing at the same time of day at the same place each day. You will find a writing schedule allows you to continue to work on your proposal even when you do not particularly feel like writing. In addition, writing at the same time of day trains your brain to be creative and functional so you can produce good work. 

Another thing you will want to do is begin by free writing. Free writing is writing in stream of consciousness fashion. It allows you to get your thoughts out on paper. Remember, no one has to see it but you, so you are free to write whatever pleases you.

One of the most helpful things is for you to start writing more clear-cut sections first. Do not write the introduction first as it tends to be rather difficult to write. 

Other ideas include keeping a notebook with you throughout the day to write down relevant thoughts or using a voice recorder and saying parts of your writing into the recorder. You never know when you will think about something or hear something that triggers an important connection to or expansion of your writing that may be key to the proposal. You may also want to compose different parts of the proposal in different computer files to help with arranging and rearranging. This also helps with potential loss issues. 

Remember, the proposal is a negotiated document, so you will have to be prepared to draft, redraft, and resubmit it multiple times. Don’t get frustrated; just make sure you understand the suggestions and changes before each rewrite.



Anxiety, free-writing, proposal writing, schedule.

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