Bugs in writing

June 14, 2022

So, you finished your masters … you feel smart and are proud of yourself for having had the determination and will power to do it? Well, enjoy the feeling while it lasts !! If you are going to write a dissertation as well, you will feel different … soon !!

All will start with the endless amount of books and papers you have to read. The more you read the more you will wonder if there is maybe one major publication you missed that could turn out to report the exact thing you are working on, making your work redundant and useless.

You will start asking yourself why am I doing this? what if somebody else already did this? Am I wasting my time? Will my dissertation even be readable, let alone contribute to the field? But most of all you will constantly ask: now, what was I doing?

If a fairy would come to you at this phase to grant you a wish, you would most likely wish for a life in a small village, far far away to herd sheep. What a beautiful, calm, relaxed way of life that would be …


You have to shake off those feelings and carry on. To get it over with will be your main motivation.

To ease the whole process of writing your dissertation you will need the following:

– A ‘good’ supervisor: S/he should be good as a person in general and also good in the field you are working on. You need someone you can trust, someone you can be sure that s/he will not let you down if some conflict of interest arise, someone who knows what is going on in the field in order to prevent you from doing redundant work, someone you cannot fool even if you managed to fool yourself (which is veeeeery easy) …

– A documentation policy: Make notes during every meeting with your supervisor and send them as an email afterwards to her/him. This will make sure that both of you were talking about the same thing and understood each other correctly. It will prevent misunderstandings regarding the content of the meetings, deadlines, scope of work, etc …

– At least one person who can listen to your ‘ occasional ‘ speeches about the thesis, your self pity and skepticism without smacking you on the head -> best is an anti-social brother who doesn’t talk much and can look at you as if he listens, even though he is somewhere else with his thoughts saving the world or something.

– A book like ‘Bugs in Writing’ by Lyn Dupre:  This book can guide you through the whole writing process, giving you strength during tough times with priceless advices like: “tell yourself that nobody ever reads dissertations anyway, that the dissertation requirement is just an archaic form of torture, a rite of passage”.

Best of luck mate!!

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