12 Tips to Survive Thesis, Reports, Case Studies and Other Big Writing Projects

One of my Facebook friends asked for tips on writing her thesis. As three and a half years of research (and with that sweat, existential crisis stress, fears, tears…) come to a close, now a potentially more daunting task begins. Writing a thesis, a final year report, or just any type of big writing exercise summarising a major piece of work is a huge undertaking. The output will be all that’s left of it, it is life defining and a learning opportunity in itself. I’ve got years of experience whether through my studies or work life, and every single time I have to write on a significant project there’s yet a new journey. Here’s the 12 tips I’ve come up with. Please comment with yours, they will help.

  1. Facts. Facts. Facts
  2. You actually know more than you think.
  3. Take breaks. Loo breaks. Screen breaks. Food breaks. Hug breaks (Partner, best buddy, be weary of random strangers). Schedule some regular breaks.
  4. CTRL+S every 5-10 minutes
  5. Work on the cloud, and/or evolve the versions
  6. Some days will be tough, especially just before a breakthrough of thoughts. It’s ok. Part of the process. You need a step back before you leap forward.
  7. Sometimes, especially towards the end, you may feel like giving up. Don’t. See points 2, 3 and 6.
  8. If you haven’t done so already, build your support network. Call someone who will lift you up.
  9. Nutrition is everything. Feed your brain (protein, greens, fats) as a human being. Supplement with omega 3 (check the shop for Biomega, but register first as a preferred customer for discounts!)
  10. Sleep. Unless you’re inspired, then indulge in a few more hours, but then have naps.
  11. Probably should be number 1, hydrate. With water, obviously.
  12. ENJOY! Every. Single. Moment. Of. It. The rough and the smooth.
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