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10 benefits of academic writing retreats

Aug 10, 2022

Here’s something I didn’t realize until I was playing with the idea of hosting our own in-person writing retreat… There are scholars who study and publish research on academic writing retreats.

One of the most well-known researchers in this field is Rowena Murray, professor of education at the University of the West of Scotland. Dr. Murray defines a writing retreat as "a total immersion experience, writing support and mentoring, focused engagement in the writing experience and a community of practice and reflexivity".

Writing retreats typically offer fixed blocks of time dedicated to concentrated and distraction free writing. My company Write the Damn Dissertation is hosting "The Empowered Writing Retreat" in October, and was designed based on the work of Dr. Rowena Murray. It also includes a private 1:1 goal setting meeting prior to the retreat, and support during the retreat.

The Empowered Writing Retreat follows Dr. Murray's structure, and is based on...

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How I spent the better part of a day... a glimpse of what it's like to move through life with ADD

Oct 24, 2021
This post is for all of the women chasing dreams and who also have ADD (attention deficit disorder),
or maybe you have a friend who does,
or maybe you love someone who does.
ADD looks different in everyone, and there are several different types.
The following blog post is my experience moving through the day.
I'm a wife, I'm a mom, I am a daughter, a friend, and a successful business owner.
I have ADD and despite my messy journey to get there, I was also able to finish my doctoral dissertation and become Dr. Amy Boyd.
If you identify in some way with feeling different than everyone else,
I am sending you so much love.
I see you.
I'm grateful for the many gifts provided to me by being neurodivergent. 
I would also love to hear from you, for you to share your gifts or "superpowers" in the comments.
Some background on why I wrote this:
"Mastering Time" is the monthly coaching theme for the women enrolled in my "Stuck to Unstoppable Alumni...
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Detachment - A critical phase in writing your dissertation

May 25, 2021
It is easy for doc students to become frustrated in the cycle of  “revolving revisions”… especially as they approach the end of the doctoral journey. Chair and committee requests for revisions are often met with reluctance. Sometimes it's difficult for doc students to recognize the value in revisions, and there is a sense of resistance... that the work we are doing has somehow become a part of who we are. We are too close to our research. We have a deep feeling of connectedness to our ideas and the years of work we have accomplished. This is a painful (and natural) part of the dissertation journey. We’ve talked about perfectionism prison before, and sometimes, this resistance is how it rears its ugly head. 
So... how can we move past the frustration, the reluctance to accept when our committee requests revisions?
We do so, by aiming for detachment
Eight weeks before my own dissertation defense, my chair...
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TEN Secrets to be WILDLY Productive in Writing Your Dissertation

May 20, 2021
Hello Hello!
Don't you just LOVE new beginnings and clean slates? The world is starting to open up again after the global pandemic. As we approach the summer, we have a great opportunity to start fresh and be insanely productive over the summer months. 
This is especially important if you left 2020 feeling stuck... like there are not enough hours in the day with competing roles and priorities working full time, being a mom, wife, friend, daughter, aunt... setting out with good intentions to work on the dissertation but feeling pulled in a million directions after being in lockdown for over a year and summer events for your 8-year old are re-scheduled yet again. (Isn't that the worst?)
It is no fun when you feel like you hardly have time to get dinner together, let alone work on your dissertation. If you are like I was... the woman who has multiple identities and juggling priorities that seem to never end, I have some refreshing news for...
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Imposter Syndrome... I'm a fraud and everyone is about to find out.

Apr 26, 2021
I'm doing something really scary because it needs to be said. Truth... I have three degrees (Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate), over 20 years of experience in education, had a very successful career, a very successful coaching practice heart that calls me to help women kick ass on their doctoral dissertations so they can move on with their lives, and some days I’m certain it’s only a matter of time before everyone finds out I have absolutely no clue what I’m doing. 
I know I am not alone. I work with high-performing female doc students who blow my mind with how brilliant and articulate they are. And yet, we feel that soon enough we will be exposed as frauds.
I'm a fraud and everyone is about to find out.
Here it comes again... that crippling feeling of chronic self-doubt. It stops us in our tracks, paralyzes our momentum and motivation, and prevents us from making progress in our dissertation. Imposter Syndrome is a totally...
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STOP setting aside a whole weekend day to "work" on your dissertation

Apr 22, 2021
Hello, Beautiful.
If you haven't heard of Brooke Castillo and The Life Coach School and you LOVE podcasts, hers is the one I highly recommend to everyone I know looking to create a life of their dreams. Her podcast is one that I look forward to every week, and the concepts she teaches inspired me to become one of her certified Life Coaches. Seriously... her teachings are mind-blowing and based on universal truths. The following blog post is based on her teachings. Please check her out if you enjoy the concepts discussed here.
Have you ever blocked aside an entire day to write your dissertation? Do you do this on the regular?
If you have, then STOP doing it.
If you are the type of Doc student who will avoid writing daily during the week and clear an entire day to write on the weekend so that you can catch up on what you were not able to get done during the week, I want you to lean in while I drop this truth bomb on you.
All with LOVE, of course...
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Approaching Burnout - Regaining (and Staying) Motivated to Finish

Apr 20, 2021
No matter how hard you try, you just cannot motivate yourself to write. The revision process has been grueling, and you are overwhelmed with the theories or connections you will have to re-think and frame out. Cognitive work is exhausting... producing original work can seem completely overwhelming at times. 
Approaching burnout and lack of motivation seems to be one of the most common sentiments that I hear from my coaching clients and in my free "Break Through Writer's Block" masterclass when I ask what the biggest challenges are when going through the dissertation writing process. 

I'd like to share 13 strategies to help you regain momentum, and get motivated by your progress to FINISH.

  1. Visualize 

    When you think about quitting, think about WHY you started. I have my clients keep a memento close to the dissertation workspace that reminds them of why they started this journey in the first place. Was it to model life-long learning for...
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When Your Brain Tries to Talk You OUT of Writing

Apr 13, 2021

Have you ever really wanted to sit down to write your dissertation, but find that you talk yourself out of it?

You say to yourself, "Well, I only have a half hour, so maybe I will just check email instead..." or "I'm not sure what to write in this section yet... I'll try again tomorrow." Only to find that tomorrow you don’t take action either?

Does this cycle continue day in and day out without you making the commitment to write through the confusion?

If this resonates with you, I have a strategy that is so simple (yet effective) that it will blow your mind. 

If you have participated in any of my writing challenges, you KNOW I love me some Mel Robbins. The concept she teaches in, The Five Second Rule has been instrumental in getting me to take action on tasks I’ve been resistant to doing in my daily life.

In the winter of 2017, I was having a tough time getting myself motivated to walk every morning. While I've been a member of the 5:00 am...

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Everything you have been told is wrong with Procrastination is a lie.

Apr 08, 2021

One of my favorite things to do is to wake up really early on the weekends when the rest of my family is still sleeping. I walk down to the kitchen, take our dogs Murph and Cooper out, pour my coffee, and tiptoe up to my office.

Early mornings are my sacred time to do deep thought work while the house is quiet and still, and before my loves wake up excited for their day to begin. "MOM... will you make me pancakes?"... "Can I invite a friend over?" or "Babe, what time do you want to go for our walk?" Being able to ease into a busy family day with a full cup and some time to think, reflect, and write is important to me, a daily practice that I established as a doc student years ago. 

My morning ritual keeps me centered and I start every day feeling like I have accomplished something.

Every morning I do a thought download and write my goals out while quietly sipping my coffee, and remind myself of all that I am grateful for as I write in my...

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How to Herd a Recalcitrant Octopus (the literature review)

Apr 06, 2021
Hello Future Doctor Friends!
Years ago when I started my own literature review, I read a metaphor on a doc student’s blog that really resonated with me, and it may with you too. The author said something to the effect that the process of writing the literature review can feel similar to herding a recalcitrant octopus, which then transitions into having a turangawaewae moment… finding a place where you belong, and of having a place to stand on and to speak from.
I loved this metaphor because the process of conducting the literature review is an exhaustive step in the dissertation journey. It can’t be rushed, is very time consuming, but once you have “herded” it, you have a solid foundation from which to build the case for your research. It’s a labor of love.
The literature review is a lot like telling a story about how every other researcher has made progress, but you are identifying a gap in the knowledge base and...
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Think Like A "Phinisher"

Silence the Inner Critic and Become the "Phinisher" in 2021!



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