I don't think I can do this.


I have to submit my first full draft in May and I still have another 20,000 words to write and I seem to be getting further away from my target and understanding less and less each day. Is writing up this hard for everyone or am I particularly thick? Just not sure I will ever finish anything of the required standard. I am a distance student and don't really have anyone to discuss my work with and am full of doubts. Every day I seem to reread and unpick what I have already done and don't get any further.


I think some people do find writing up harder than others, but it's also probably partly because you are a distance learner and so don't realise that may people feel this way.

20,000 words is totally doable within the next months and it's normal to unpick things from the previous day - this is generally good I think because you are able to improve it, as long as you are eventually moving on to new sections of course.

Have you had any feedback on your chapter drafts so far? You are probably just being unnecessarily hard on yourself.


I had loads to write in the last month or so of my PhD, and it was really pressured, but I got there. You'll be absolutely fine. Think about it like this - 2 months = roughly 60 days. 20,000 words over 60 days = 333 words a day. Very do-able. I had a goal of 500 words each day. Often, on good days, I'd write way more than that. But if I had a 'bad day' I still tried to get 500 words written. Keep going! (And maybe just keep writing until you've got more words, and think about editing/unpicking things later)


I couldn't agree more with theboakster.

Plan your days in this way and do not step away from the computer until you achieve your quota. On some days it would take me all day to reach my 500 words a day goal. Yet, on one day, I remember writing over 2000 words!

I'm a massive to-do list fan too, so what I did was make a list with dates on the left hand side of a page and wrote '500' next to each date. When I wrote three days of writing in one day I would scribble off the next three 500s. Seeing that I was three days ahead of schedule was a huge confidence boost and kept me going.

You CAN do this timefortea. You are so close. Don't give up!


Thanks for the encouragement! I have started using an app which tells me when I will finish if I continue at the current rate - at the moment it is on July 2017!! Hopefully this will be a wake up call that I need to work faster (I also work two days a week and am surrounded by small kids when school is out so I need to go faster on my working days - like today!) I have to get this done though.


Quote From timefortea:
I have to submit my first full draft in May and I still have another 20,000 words to write ... Every day I seem to reread and unpick what I have already done and don't get any further.

You may have answered your own problem there. Stop looking back at yesterday's work, and focus on producing the next section instead. Maybe once a week review your progress, but there's no point in nitpicking on existing words when you have more that you need to write. Your thesis will never be perfect, even when it's on the umpteenth draft. But it needs to be complete, so just keep writing rather than editing.

If it helps... I wrote about 30,000 words in 4 months while working a full time job i.e. I only had weekends and evenings available to work on it. It was horrible and I don't recommend that approach, but it can be done. So if you are looking to have a *draft* ready (rather than a definitive finished thesis) in two months, and you don't have other full time commitments, 20,000 words is highly achievable.

Is there any chance of you finding a writing buddy, whether online or in person, to do some kind of 'shut up and write' thing with?