Alternative Ways to Meet Thesis Word Targets: Death, Trauma or Self-Mutilation?

I’ve been writing up part of the chapter quite intensively for the past week or two. I’ve been so embroiled in this, I forgot to mark this blog’s second birthday on the 14th June (for she’s a jolly good fellow, etc.). I did remember to mark my own 24th birthday with some cake and pitchers of Pimms.

Each time I start the intensive writing process, I set myself the target of 1000 words a day. Some days, this comes easily and I pass that target by 3pm. Other days I can be still sitting staring at the Word document at 6pm with bloodshot eyes, a stack of tea stained mugs, messy hair and only 700 words to show for all my head scratching, before I give up and hope the next day will be better.

I’m always on the look out for tools to make myself produce more/better words. I’ve tried turning off all internet connectivity, or blocking certain web addresses which are known procrastination hotspots. I’ve even turned off the laptop completely to see if I can produce anything better without the looming word count easily accessible. During a visit to one of my procrasination hotspots last week (yes, sometimes I work willfully against myself), I read this article about this app, Write or Die, which allows you to write in kamikaze mode. It allows you to pause typing for 45 seconds before it starts deleting words you have already written.

I have not downloaded this app, for I fear in the course of a day it might delete my entire thesis. What if I can’t find a reference in time? What if I can’t turn it off? Frankly, chopping off a finger every time I don’t reach my 1000 word target would be about as effective a method of encouraging me to write more. It would work, but if it didn’t the consequences far outweigh the reward. More importantly, I am fairly sure that the stress involved in the 45 second rule would probably hospitalize me eventually which would overall effect productivity more.

Some days, I don’t need any additional stressors.

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