Before you begin your dissertation comes the honeymoon period; that’s the brief window of time when the whole world is laid before you for the taking and when you’re still labouring under the impression that your dissertation is going to be the dissertation to beat all others and it’s going to come easy because you know your subject!

You’re brimming with confidence, energy and zeal…then you sit down to begin and suddenly it’s as though steel shutters have slammed down between you and the rest of the world and the twin miseries of inactivity and self doubt hook their scaly claws into your psyche.

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It can happen to anyone

What do you do? Why do you suddenly feel as though you’re incapable of something which only a moment ago you knew you could do? Some call it writer’s block whilst others label it laziness…still more people call it lack of confidence. Blame it on your diet, blame it on those chicken wings you ate for breakfast…there’s no visible cure and you’re going to fail spectacularly.

Or are you? Is failure an inevitability if you’re stuck in a dissertation rut and can’t seem to get things off the ground?

How to get inspired

The first thing to realise is that you haven’t got writer’s block, you’re not going to fail and there is help out there. Looking at dissertation examples online will help enormously and will get you going in the right direction quickly.

We all need to have a benchmark when we’re facing a tough task and reading through the dissertations of those who’ve been there and done that will help you to make that first step.

How to stay inspired

It’s a cliché to some but staying inspired means constantly refreshing your mind and the best way to do that is to keep it busy! Take regular breaks but try to avoid too many “zone out” periods. We all need downtime but that doesn’t mean watching back to back episodes of Breaking Bad…it means taking walks, visiting friends and reading good and relevant literature.

Write in short regular bursts

If you’re still struggling, you shouldn’t beat yourself up but neither should you rest on your laurels. Write a little every day; it doesn’t matter if some days you only manage a paragraph…just be sure that you do manage that paragraph. Doing this will ensure that your dissertation doesn’t grow teeth and claws and become a monster that you have to hide from…the longer you ignore it, the bigger and sharper those teeth and claws grow!

Always ask for help if things get on top of you

There’s no shame in admitting that things are getting too much; it can happen to the most brilliantly talented people and in fact often does! If you do find that your dissertation is causing you real worry, the NUS advise that you seek the support of your dissertation tutor as soon as possible; they’ll help you to formulate a plan of action…and they’ve seen it all before! So don’t worry…you’re not the first to suffer from dissertation blues and you won’t be the last!