When I was writing my dissertation, I attended a dissertation writing retreat organized by a research center at my university. At the retreat, I joined about twenty other graduate students in a quiet, distraction-free space for two solid days of dissertation writing. We were provided with food, coffee, and regularly scheduled breaks when we could leave our laptops and talk to other dissertation writers.

It was essentially dissertation-writing lockdown, and it was the most productive two days of graduate school that I ever experienced. I managed to crank out a rough draft of an entire chapter in one weekend!

You, too, can replicate this experience for yourself! Here's how.

1. Gather Some Like-Minded Colleagues

Gather some fellow dissertation writers. While you could create a solo dissertation writing retreat, having other people to write with you is a good source of productive peer pressure. It's easier to stay focused and avoid distraction if you're surrounded by a group of other dissertation writers who are trying to accomplish the same thing.

2. Find a Space

Find a dissertation writing-conducive space. If your university or department allows you to book classrooms, consider reserving one for a weekend. If you don't have access to on-campus space, try public libraries or community centers: they often have rooms available for members of the public to book. Failing that, you could use somebody's home. Perhaps you know someone who has a large dining room table that could seat multiple dissertation writers! Whatever the space you use, make sure it’s a place that’s quiet and well-lit so that you can focus on dissertation editing, dissertation formatting, and dissertation writing or research.

3. Get Some Food

The reason the dissertation retreat I attended was so productive was because we didn't have to think about a thing beyond writing our dissertations – least of all, where our lunch was coming from. Before your writing retreat, make plans to have meals on hand and ready to go for when the lunch break rolls around. There are all kinds of ways to do this: each of the participants could bring a dish or pick up some to-go items from the grocery store; you could order in or arrange to have food delivered; or perhaps some sympathetic friends or family members will volunteer to feed you!

4. Set and Share Your Dissertation Writing Goals

Set some goals for your dissertation writing retreat. Not every participant needs to have the same goals, as you may all be at different stages of the dissertation writing process. It is helpful, however, to have all of the retreat participants share what their goals are at the beginning of the retreat.

5. Plan Ahead

The reason that I was able to draft a dissertation chapter in two days was because I planned ahead. My goals going into the writing retreat were clear: I was going to get that chapter draft out. In order to make it happen, I had to be well-prepared. I had read and taken notes on as many secondary sources as
I could. I had all of my primary sources organized and annotated. I had drawn up a rough outline of the chapter. I wouldn't have been able to accomplish as much as I had if I hadn't laid this groundwork.

Whatever it is that you hope to accomplish during your dissertation writing retreat, equip yourself with all of the materials that you'll need to get it done. Our dissertation research services can help you get ready for your dissertation writing retreat.

6. Write!

Once you’ve got everything in place, all that’s left is to get writing! For more ideas on putting together a dissertation writing retreat, check out this Gradhacker post. With the help of a dissertation consultant, you can come up with the ideal writing strategy to make the most of a dissertation writing retreat. And once the retreat is over, we can take care of any of your dissertation editing or dissertation formatting needs!
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