A PhD supervisor advises on how to increase your word count capacity and get into a routine of writing at least 2,000 words a day.

Ask a PhD Supervisor: How Can I Write 2,000 Words a Day?

Question: I’m a PhD student and I cannot seem to get enough writing done each day. I wish to do more, but other things that are going on in my life continually distract me. I am really worried that I’m not going to leave myself enough time to complete my thesis. How can I get into a routine of writing at least 2,000 words a day?

Answer: As a full time PhD supervisor, let me first reassure you that you’re not alone in worrying about how to increase your writing capacity. Your thesis is going to be the cornerstone of all of your years at university, so it is crucial to ensure you take enough time to write as much as you are able. Writing a PhD thesis is not a simple task, however, and it must be taken very seriously. Fortunately, there are ways you can implement writing into your daily routine so that you can complete your thesis with enough time to make any edits or changes before submission.

The Key To Writing 2,000 Words Each Day

From time to time, a little PhD help can be useful, particularly when it comes to writing. To get to the point of writing 2,000 words each day, there are two main conditions you must keep in mind:

  1. You must know exactly what you plan to write about; and
  2. You must set aside a specific time to write.

Know What You Plan To Write

Before sitting down to begin writing, it is crucial to have some sort of idea what the goal of the day will be. Writing a PhD thesis requires a variety of writing styles. When you are beginning your work, take some time to do some generative writing. This is simply getting your ideas out of your head and onto the computer screen (or a piece of paper). This allows you to articulate ideas without second guessing yourself. This can be difficult for those who have a tendency towards perfectionism, but generative writing can have a significant impact on your productivity.

The key to generative writing is to temporarily forget about the PhD thesis structure. Instead, focus on the content itself by creating an overview as fast as possible for a specified period of time. Remember that this writing will not be perfect thesis ready text; it will, however, help you remain focused on the content. You can concern yourself with structure at a later time.

Set Aside Specific Writing Time

The next thing to consider is how much time you will dedicate to writing each day. This will largely depend on your particular schedule, but a PhD student must realise that a majority of work time should be spent writing daily. There is no arguing that distractions are everywhere. Indeed, if you are a parent or a spouse, you already know that you can have constant interruptions that can cause you to spend less time on your thesis!

The key is to make writing a PhD thesis a priority. It should be treated as a job that you do from home. Yes, your family and other commitments are important and should never be neglected. However, it is crucial that you set some guidelines. Consider setting a time each day in which you can go into an office or another room to have some quiet time without any interruptions. Aim to dedicate at least two to three hours each day on your thesis. As you become a faster writer, you will notice that you can easily hit the 2,000 words a day mark, and maybe even beyond.

By remembering these two simple conditions, you will find that you will have no problem adding 2,000 words a day when writing your PhD thesis.

Do you have a burning question about applying for a PhD programme, or how to succeed once you’re accepted? Submit it to us at hello@yourphdsupervisor.com for a chance to have it answered in our Ask a PhD Supervisor column!

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