This organising technique works best for very late stage thesis students, but it can be a way of creating order at any time in your journey and working out what you need to find out or write more about.I’ve made a downloadable cheat sheet which shows you my own Thesis map, generated by the above method so you can make one of your own.But multi-disciplinary Ph Ds, or Ph Ds in ‘polyglot’ disciplines like education, do not have comfortable traditions. Try the following technique: Following these steps will help you to create the Thesis map – but it’s important to remember that this is merely an aid to writing, not a plan set in stone.
In our Thesis Bootcamps we ask students to just pick a spot on this map and start writing as fast as they can, not as well as they can. Not necessarily, but many students say that the writing they produce at Bootcamp is clearer than the writing they did before it, when they are worrying over every word.
I think the thesis map is a big part of this clarity because it keeps the focus tight.
1) Know what you are going to write before you write it Composing a Thesis requires you to do different types of writing.
Some of this writing is ‘generative’ in that it helps you form and articulate ideas by…
At Bootcamp we teach our students to focus the generative writing energy to productive effect.
An important step in this process is for the student to spend at least a week making a ‘Thesis map’ before they come to Bootcamp.The blocks clip together to make a little lego ‘wall’ that the students can display at their writing station.When first presented with the idea of the blocks the students laugh, but all too soon, they are typing furiously with single minded purpose – to get the next block.I think the anxiety stems from the idea that ‘Thesis structure’ is some kind of perfect platonic form they need to discover.It’s important to realise that structure is made, not found.Rachel Aaron did some deep analysis of her productive writing days and compared these to the occasional not-so-productive days.The days Rachel was able to write 10,000 words were the days she was writing scenes she had been ‘dying to write’ – she called these the ‘candy bar scenes’.Grinding is being forced to perform the same action over and over again before you can ‘level up’ in the game and get more powers / weapons / armour or whatever. One of the most genius ideas Liam and Peta incorporated into Bootcamp was the squeezy lego blocks.We give these out for each 5000 words written in a particular colour order: green, blue, red and gold.2) Set aside a protected time to write I’ve written so much about this, so I wont rehash it all here.If you are interested in some techniques and ideas for creating protective writing time, have a look at the following posts: 3) Feel enthusiastic about what you are writing I think this is the ‘secret sauce’ in the 10,000 words a day recipe.