"Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day" was published in 1998, but I found it to be as fitting to writing a graduate dissertation now as it likely was then. The author, Joan Bolker, is a long-time teacher of writing and a counselor of writers. The way that she writes in this book makes it feel like a personal coach's practical approach to writing a dissertation.
Bolker takes the reader through all of the stages of graduate school life and suggests a great methodology for embracing graduate work by writing on a constant basis. She admits in the book that we obviously can't just write a dissertation in 15 minutes a day (a dissertation is practically a book-length report of our studies), but she advises starting with writing a small amount of time each day and then building to longer times. I've found this to be a tremendously helpful suggestion. I've already started working my way up to writing my dissertation for an hour each day.
Graduate school can be a hellacious roller coaster of happiness, guilt, discovery, feelings of imposterism, excitement for learning new things, and depression. The good and the bad seem to balance themselves most of the time, but sometimes the emotional impacts of grad life can teeter us one way or the other in great, or sometimes not-so-great, ways. We get paid for part-time work, but are expected to be overworked. We honestly have it better than many people and usually don't have as much to complain about as it sometimes feels, but one definite thing that seems worth complaining about is the dissertation. It looms over our heads like a vast storm system that we can see rolling in from our bedroom windows and we just know is going to keep us inside all day. A lot of people will almost never again read their dissertation once it's written, while some people will take their dissertation forward and publish it as a book. Since I'm looking at my final year(s) in graduate school, now is most definitely the time to be speeding ahead on writing my dissertation.
Quite honestly, I wish I had found Joan Bolker's book years ago. It would have been very helpful to build up a writing habit for my dissertation as soon as I started grad school. Indeed, I now highly recommend just that (as well as this book) for anyone who is looking into graduate school. If I had built up a pacing of writing for a short time each day over the past few years, I might actually have most of a couple of dissertations written by now. Still, I look forward to getting deeper into my writing, to letting it guide my future work as the writing helps me discover what needs to come next, and to having some decent drafts of my dissertation for revision in the coming months. I think the serendipitous action of discovering this left-behind book, "Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day", has been one of the best "kicks in the ass" that I've had in my time as a graduate student.