Lara's Writing Up Diary - inspired by Jojo


I've just been inspired by Jojo to have a writing up diary, to track my progress.

My submission deadline is September 1st.

I am aiming to submit my thesis to Senate house by 25th August (safety net).

18th August (I will have it printed and bound)

11th August (I want the thesis to be in it's final version and completed ready to print).

7th of july is my deadline - first draft of my entire thesis


This week, I am working on the 3rd section of my introduction. reading papers and getting ideas on how to analyse and intepret my 3rd results chapter.

My first deadline is: 2nd of june: first draft of my 3rd results chapter, and will give to my supervisor to look at.



Todays aim is to read papers and work on my introduction. I am aiming to write 1000-2000 words worth of notes from the papers.

I have to read in total approximately 74 papers by the end of next week.
So far I have read and made notes from 3 papers (i did this yesterday, and wrote 743 words of "notes")

I highly recommend the book:

Writing your dissertation in fifteen minutes a day, by Joan Bolker.
(obviously you don't write your dissertation in only 15 minutes a day, but it's a trick to get you started if you have writers block)

but she talks about zero draft, which is just brilliant!


I also highly recommend the book:

Authoring a Phd, how to plan, draft, write and finish a doctoral thesis or dissertation, by Patrick Dunleavy.


Yes, I've read this book. It's a good starting point.
Good luck to you - your timescale looks very ambitious to me. Have you left time for supervisors who come in at the eleventh hour with inputs which may require radical rethought?


erm, yah it's very ambitious, but i have no choice, if i don't submit by sept 1st, they wont let me submit at all, and i will fail.

erm yah haven't taken into account of radical restructuring. i am hoping by 7th of july when i have my first draft written, that my supervisor will tell me then, if i need to structure it differently..

i'm going to give it my best shot and see what happens.


the thing is my supervisor will only look at polished versions of my chapters. and wont look at drafts

i have told him the layout of my thesis and the chapters i want to write and the order.


Well thanks Jojo for your brilliant idea about writing a "writing diary". It's really motivated me!!

Usually I would just procrastinate, or past couple of days have been suffering from panic attacks and couldn't concentrate, but now knowing that by midnight I would have to log on here and update what I've done all day, really motivated me and got me working and concentrating!

Apolagies for people who will find it boring to read... But like someone said on Jojo's thread, you don't have to read it
And it's not wasting time writing in my diary, as it only takes 5 minute, and I will do it at the end of my working day, whilst I backup the work i have done for the day (yeh, i've started doing daily backups, because I'm scared of losing my work). Then weekly backups onto dvds. But more importantly, it's actually motivating me to work hard during the day, knowing I have to report what i've done.




hours worked: 4 and half hours.

random procrasinating things i did: read up on how to write a literature review. and how to correctly reference. emailed my supervisor telling him of my deadlines. emailed my graduate tutor, updating him of my thesis plans.

words written (zero draft of introduction chapter section 3) "notes only" from papers = 827 words (most of it will be junk! and are just notes from papers)..

hand written pages of ideas, random thoughts, (and free writing) = 4 and half pages

ideas = 2

articles read = 7

i'm sleepy, so going to bed now.


all the best Lara!


Thanks Jojo, you too!

It's funny, but knowing I have to update my progress by midnight everyday, really has motivated me.. I just logged on for a quick 2 minute break.
it's like having a "virtual" dissertation support group.


i find that it has helped to have someone (forum members) to be accountable to.


Hi Lara,

I don't know if you have read my reply to you other post, but I'm basically in the same position, and I would also like to start a writing up diary like you and jojo. Rather than starting a whole new thread, would you mind if I hijacked yours? (cheeky I know!) My final deadline is the 30th September, but I really need to submit by the 7th Septmeber as I am starting a job. I only have one chapter written, and that's not even in its final form! I hope you don't mind if I also post daily, and hopefully it will be a good source of motivation for both of us! I am soo desperate to submit, I know I don't have much time either, but I'll just have to go into hibernation for the next three months!


OK, so I've calmed down a bit. So here's my life for the next few months :

My final thesis will consist of 3 major data chapters and one small 4th chapter, with each data chapter in paper format with introduction, specific methods, results and discussion. There will also be a general introduction, methods and a brief discussion.

My deadlines are:
2nd June - Finish corrections to data chapter 1 & finish analysis of data chapters 3 & 4.
15th June - Draft of data chapter 2.
29th June - Draft of data chapter 3.
28th July - Draft of data chapter 4 and general methods (I have some other stuff to do in july).
22nd August - Draft of introduction and discussion (complete draft submitted!)
22nd September - absolutely 100% need to print off final version and submit for binding.
Its tight but I’m going to do it!


Hey BB!

yeh i just read your reply to the other post. glad to hear you're in the same boat as me! as it was getting lonely for me!!

and yes please join in my thread!! it would be my pleasure !!

please post daily or more if you want to. this is your diary now too

to be honest, it's nice to have the company! i dont feel so lonely now.

i know we dont have much time, but we can do this! just have to hibernate from everyone and everything. and just keep at it.

it will be actually very motivating for me to see how you're doing, seeing your daily progress. so please feel free to post as much as you like

thanks for the support!


just read your deadlines and it's totally doable! you can do this.
nothing like a deadline to clear your mind and get you motivated ;)

your deadlines are similar to mine.

and i am also doing mini paper chapters too! like a mini intro, mini methods, results and a mini discussion.

my first deadline is: first draft of chapter 4. to give to my supervisor on the 2nd of june!