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Writer's Block/Writing Confidence?


I stumbled across your service today.
I am a Ph.D. candidate and have come to a point where I feel I may well have lost most confidence in my own ability to write.  My committee have asked me yet again to revise the completed dissertation.

Although they have seen some individual chapters a number of times, they have now become micro managers and want me to go back to a very early point of the problem statement, and to rephrase the research question which has never been questioned before at any stage of process!  

In a recent meeting with the three person committee I was asked a number of questions which were not anticipated, and although answering as best as I could, I feel that I did not impress them.

Being close to the end I do not feel that I can give up, but am finding it hard to maintain ownership of this process and confidence, especially when things have not been mentioned before, it is as if the target is always moving.

Pamela, I feel your frustration and fear. Remember, you are the expert on your topic. I'm wondering if your committee's questions were a little off topic? Or, do you feel as though you just didn't know the answer?

I'm full of questions.. what is your topic, etc. but, to be helpful, I'd like to know if they gave you a guideline to go by when you revise your dissertation? I hope so because it's like a recipe for success.

I'll pass on some advice I was given by a professor when I was in your boat. She said to take charge of the meeting. For example, appearing friendly and excited to discuss your work. And, it is exciting! You've worked hard, you know the most and you want to share your findings with people who care (presumably).

If you are asked to change something you really don't want to or see the value of changing it, you can stand up and give your reasons (in a professional tone of voice).

If it makes you feel any better, a number of novelists complain about editors doing the same thing -- wanting change. If you trust them, it will make your final product better.

Thanks for writing to me. Anytime.

Dr Brawley

Writer's Block

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Patricia Brawley, PhD


EXPERTISE: I work with people who have an idea not expressed yet, commonly called a writer's block. I can help you find the feeling and words to get you back on track with your writing. If being stuck is a general theme in your life, I offer personal coaching. I do not edit or critique your writing.


I am a licensed independent professional counselor, coach, and consultant. I have experience leading writing groups and mentoring writers. I am the author of published short stories and poems, winning awards in each category. I frequently attend writing conferences and participate in an organized writing association. I speak at conferences about topics related to personal growth, mental health topics, and existential living. I have presented original research in Japan, Canada, Italy, Finland, Russia, and across the United States. I have a PhD in Psychology which serves me well to work with the way habits and beliefs interfere or motivate us to succeed. I also am a university level professor and often help people summarize, clarify, and articulate their ideas. Needless to say, I am an avid reader.

American Psychological Association American Counseling Association Gulf South Writers Association Mississippi Counseling Association Mississippi Psychological Association

The Compass - a newsletter for Counselors The Magnolia Quarterly

PhD - Psychology - Saybrook University, San Francisco,CA M.S. - Counseling Psychology - University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS B.S. - Social and Rehabilitation Counseling - University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS Over 1,000 hours continuing education hours.

Awards and Honors
1st Place - 2011 - Poetry - "Hurricane Point" 1stPlace - 2009 - Short Story - "The Earring"

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