As the last few weeks have past I've become steadily more anxious about my lack of dissertation progress. I know that it's typical for students to experience inertia at some point in their dissertation, however I've stalled before even moving out of first gear. Perhaps what I've been lacking is some structure. I've genuinely intended to spend more time undertaking background reading and really getting to grips with what's expected, but it hasn't happened for a number of good reasons that I won't explain here. That's not to say I haven't been turning ideas over in my mind - on the contrary, I've spent too much time thinking without focus. It feels like I've wasted time and energy.
In response (and I can't believe I didn't come to this idea before now), I'm going to attempt to kick start my dissertation into action by writing. Using this blog I will record and explore ideas, make plans and reflect on my progress. I don't think I would have made it through the Research Methods course without this approach, hence my surprise at failing to adopt this approach in the dissertation before now. Of course, writing is fine it itself, however I'm going to have to write with purpose and direction and for that I'll need discipline. The dissertation seems such a large and (at the moment) undefined piece of work: perhaps some disciplined writing will lend cohesion and structure to my work, in contrast to the free thinking of the past few weeks. Like so much of what it free, it is ultimately disposable and ends up being discarded.
My approach then will be to aim to spend an hour each evening working on my dissertation, primarily through entries in the blog, in the earliest stages at least. This will be in addition to a few hours each Friday afternoon that I have set aside for study, even if that doesn't always quite work to plan. I recognise that enthusiastic input doesn't necessarily result in positive output, however as approaches go, it's better than anything else I can think of and it appeals to my sense of putting a shift in and trying to build momentum.