Perfectionism, procrastination, anger, tiredness. These are the most common stages that lead to blockages when writing a thesis or dissertation. Although there are no magic formulas, you can avoid or manage the problem by following a few tips.

For everything to be more organized, it can be said that there are things that “do not help”; things that “can help”; and things you “definitely should not do” when you’re writing.


Compare yourself to someone who writes 15 pages a day. Each one has its own rhythm and moment in research. Staying against others who are writing will not increase the pages of your work.

To think that you are a fraud. This may seem exaggerated; it is not. When I was in my first year of doctorate I went with a friend to a party. Because they did not know me, they would ask what I was doing. “- Well, I’m taking my doctorate at USP”; responded. For me, so far, so good. But at one point, when I answered the same question, I heard the following: “Wow, you must be really smart.” At the same moment I thought, “No, I’m not! And you’ll probably soon find out that what I am is a big fraud.” It’s been a long time.

Discounting someone’s frustration. Turning away people we like by continual irritation and demonstrations of little patience is also a frequent occurrence. Nothing can be more harmful than being isolated by meaningless discussions when writing.

Fight with the counselor. If there is something bad it is a heavy or difficult environment with your advisor. Breathe when there is tension and move on. There is always the other day to resume the conversation.


Face your writing as an activity. Burn calories by writing. You may not even burn many; but some will. So you must write; daily. Do not wait for a moment of inspiration to begin. Write.

If page 1 is complicated, start on page 2. It may sound like a joke, but it’s actually a powerful hint. When writing, try to start from the center point of the chapter. Then go to the other parts. That simple.

Perform the most difficult task at the first moment of the day. In general, we leave for later what causes us discomfort. Do not leave it for later. If you are leaving to write last in the list of your tasks, change it. Must be the first thing to do in the day.

Write fast; then check. I read somewhere that writing is rewriting. I agree. When I write, there are repeated words, mistakes in spelling, agreement, confusion, etc. But what I want, though not very clearly, is there.

Do not worry about formatting. This is a common mistake. Understand once and for all: formatting is not writing. While you’re writing, do not worry about formatting.

Cut out the distractions. Writing with warnings of all kinds appearing on your computer, it disturbs. Cut out all warnings from the various applications you have. Including e-mail.

Divide your writing goals into 25-minute times with 3 minutes of rest. After 4 cycles of 25 minutes, rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Once the rest is over, restart the whole process. This will help you stay focused.

Plan your week. Try to predict everything you need to do next week. Create a routine. Set goals and review your plan on a set day. I review my next week every Friday. During the week, adjust as necessary and proceed. Do not confuse planning with lack of flexibility; and no flexibility with freedom not to meet goals.

Ideas come from other ideas. So keep all your notes organized. In fact, be organized with the materials of your dissertation or thesis. Wasting time searching for things cuts your rhythm.

Read books and writing articles. Keep these notes and put the complete information of the material used and the page from which the passage was taken. The same for references when you paraphrase.

Carry a notebook with you and leave pen and paper near the bed. Ideas arise at all times: when we are sleeping, awake, etc. I do not recommend tablets near bed because they can disrupt sleep.

If it is difficult to understand some aspect of your dissertation or thesis, draw it. There is no problem in that. Designing is just another form of communication. And, at least for me, a picture is worth more than 1,000 words. “Seeing” what is happening helps me to “see” the problem; what is clear and what is not. That’s why I use mind maps.

Find a control reader. This can initially be your advisor or not. What matters is receiving impressions from someone. But remember to say that it is an early work and that there are probably many mistakes.

Leave your table tidy for the next day. Doing this, in addition to facilitating the beginning of your day, will help you “disconnect” from your dissertation or thesis. You will rest better.

Read something out of your subject. Have fun with reading. Do not put the full burden of your work on it. While reading to write is entertaining for you, reading something out of your immediate job will help reduce tensions.


Drink as you write. I mean, alcohol. I worked as the control reader of a friend at the time of his masters. He used to drink whiskey when he wrote. Stumbling on the words, he would call me saying that he had written “the best pages of his life.” As I read, I saw that I was starting well. Then I did not understand at all.

Start writing with some personal problem hammering your head. If you have a problem, solve it. No matter what it is, going to the bank, talking to someone, I do not know. And if the problem has no solution, try to look at it this way: you can not do anything. So follow what you can do. That is, write.

Isolate. Try to go out with your friends and have some fun activity. Isolating does not do well. Writing a dissertation or thesis is not a 100-meter run; It’s a marathon. The worst thing you can do all this time is being alone.