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These are simply things which worked for me, there is a lot of advice out there from people more experienced than me ( this blog, The Thesis Whisperer, and others).I read quite a lot of the advice given, mainly as a means of procrastination if I’m honest, and then used the bits which worked for me.
On the other hand this was really hard work, I think I might have been happier with a slightly more relaxed schedule as there was no let up.
I structured each chapter into sections and then began to fill them in.
Keeping to a regular schedule and having acheivable goals were the best way for me to stay motivated.
I started my thesis with a rough outline, essentially just the chapter headings.
I have Mendeley set up to watch and sort my random papers folder, I save all papers here and Mendeley sorts them and makes them searchable.
Finally, I wrote my thesis using La Te X, which I recommend.I wish I’d built more regular excercise and socialising into my days as there were times when I was extremely lonely.I worked am to ~5pm on my thesis during week days with coffee and lunch breaks.I’ve just finished a Ph D in soft matter physics and I’m now working as a post doc.Now that the dust has settled on the thesis I can begin to reflect on the writing process. Because of an internship, the process of writing my thesis was entirely separate in time from the experimental period and had a hard deadline as I had to submit before starting a post-doc.I tended to write out the opening paragraghs of each section long hand in a notebook and then type them up editing as I went.Once I had got started on a section it was then easier to keep going, typing straight in.However, the process was hard work but not painfully so.I’m glad I had the support of my supervisor to write in this way as without promt feedback this would have been impossible.I’ll group the things I learnt loosely into practicalities and the writing process and software tricks.I wrote most of my thesis at home to avoid the distractions of colleagues and to have access to a ready supply of coffee.