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But the only way to get to a good argument is to experiment and fail a lot in the dissertation and post-dissertation process.” In other words, a dissertation is where you begin to articulate the ideas and arguments that will eventually transform into your book.
In sum, transforming your dissertation into a book will be a long process, but it’s more than doable. Don’t be afraid to fail and fail again before you come up with something terrific. “Let it rise, punch it down, let it rise again,” she counsels.
“When you skip a few steps, you can taste the difference.” Don’t be afraid to take your time.
The dissertation, on the other hand, is a new kind of academic project, unlike anything else you’ve done.
It is the academic project that marks your transition from student to scholar.
In addition to this, I recommend finding a trusted writing partner or group with which to share your work-in-process.
Sharing work is the best way to hack away at your dissertation until you hone in on your arguments. The bonus of this is that others often see our work more clearly and can provide us with helpful comments, questions, and constructive criticism. I think Sharmila Sen says it best: Writing a first academic book is a lot like baking bread.
As such, it is best described, using Sen’s metaphor, as “a spectator sport.” “A good academic book cannot be a spectator sport,” Sen explains.
“The reader is not satisfied when she is kept at a distance, watching the author play a game with other people in a distant field or stadium. Try writing in a different “voice.” In some ways, your prose style now matters more than your thesis: Even a great argument won’t pass editorial muster if it’s mired in unreadable text.
Their responses contained some of the most incisive advice I’ve ever seen on the craft of writing, but everything they said can be boiled down to two fundamental points. When one argument rises out of the analytics and becomes something on which you can build an intellectual agenda.
Books are driven by arguments, not by constellations of analytics.