Managing Your Writing
You have your plan and have made a start on your writing. The key now is to keep going, but doing that as effectively as possible will depend on you being able to manage your work - taking active control of your writing and your time so that you follow the plan you have developed and agreed. In particular, you need to have a process for monitoring the progress of your writing and reviewing this against your plan.
Monitoring - Looking Back at Your Progress
We have seen that the control loop model gives you a mechanism for managing your work. The strength of that model is that it recognises that it is not enough simply to have a plan for what you want to do - you also need a process for actively monitoring your progress and seeing whether you are on track or need to re-think what you are doing.
Monitoring is the process of looking back at your progress. It will give you the information you need to decide whether you are on track or need to change anything in your plan or about the way you are working. It is something that is best done regularly - we would suggest weekly or every other week - as this will allow you to identify any problems early on.
In terms of your writing you will need to monitor your work to ensure that it is following your plan for your thesis' content and structure. You may find it helpful to keep a record of what you have written each week, noting what content it covers and how it fits in to the overall structure of your thesis. You may want to keep this record as a work log or simply by annotating your plan. Choose the approach that suits you, but remember that it should be clear and easy to use when you come to review your progress against your plan.
Reviewing - Closing the Loop
Monitoring gives you information; reviewing is the process of using that information. This stage closes the control loop model as you use the monitoring of your progress to decide whether your writing is:
following your plan and you can continue as you are
diverging from your plan and you need to re-think what you are doing
As with monitoring, reviewing is something that you should do regularly - either on your own or as part of your regular review meetings with your supervisor.
Hopefully, you will find that what you have written follows the structure that you had planned. If not, you should proceed with caution. Remember that your plan was agreed with your supervisor on the basis that it was sound, realistic, and followed any conventions specific to your discipline. You should not diverge from this plan without very good reason and, if you think your plan does need changing, this is something you should discuss with your supervisor first.
Instead think about whether you need to change anything about the way you are working - in particular, whether you need to use your plan more as a guide that tells you what to write or whether you need to break your plan down further so you have a clear idea of what you should be doing before you start writing each section.
Your plan for your final year covered both your thesis plan and your work plan. Managing your writing will help make sure you follow the first of these, but you need to make sure you follow your work plan too and that means thinking about managing your time.
|The Thesis Journey - Managing Your Writing and Yourself|
Managing Your Writing >