How to run your own boot camp


  • Recruit a few other dissertation writers.
  • Commit to meeting at a regular place and time.
  • Tell your colleagues that you’re absolutely unavailable during that time.
  • Get a supply of healthy snacks and drinks to keep in reach.

During the boot camp

  • Set SMART goals for the week (see the goal setting tips below). Interact with this goal sheet every day, crossing off the goals you’ve achieved, breaking down a goal into sub-goals, and adding new goals as you progress.
  • Set a timers for your writing periods if it’s helpful (see below for timer options). The Writing Center boot camp schedule is: 90 minutes with no internet, 30 minutes with internet, 60 minutes with no internet, then talking about your writing over lunch.
  • Turn off your phone and your internet, stop talking, and start writing.
  • Make an occasional appointment in the Writing Center to talk about your progress, to learn new writing strategies, and to keep yourself motivated.
  • Smile. You’re doing a great job!

Workshop handouts specifically for dissertation writers:

All Writing Center handouts and tips, writing strategy demos, and semester calendars:

Writing group resources

Materials to help you start and run your own ongoing writing group:


Productivity applications:

Speech to text software:

Time tracking applications (to see what you’re spending your time on):

Timers/alarms/bells you can set:

Interesting articles and tips

Formatting your dissertation

Inside Higher Ed series for graduate students

National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity

Discussion of using the internet to procrastinate:

A very helpful list of tips (intended for online/distance students, but mostly useful for anyone):

Some stuff about “imposter syndrome”: