Our doctoral program is a non-traditional, low residency model. As students, we live all over the U.S. and beyond. Because of this distance, the lonely process of getting a PhD can be even lonelier when the closest fellow student is 210 miles away. One solution – The Dissertation Intensive. Sound the trumpets. We are now in Day 4 of the 10 Day experience. Here’s how it works. Anyone who has advanced to candidacy in our program can elect to join the Intensive. It is led by our writing coach, the most amazing Elaine Gale who has a PhD and MFA and intimately understands the challenges that come with writing. On Day 1 we all gather on a conference call and share our goals. Then every other day we check-in with a call and share how we are progressing with our goals, share challenges (and solutions), and ask questions. We also pair up in dyads or triads for more in-depth check-ins and support. Each person is supposed to work for at least 15 minutes a day on their dissertation, but of course more is better. The idea behind the whole experience is to help with motivation and focus. And, it works quite well. Knowing we have to check-in and report on progress helps us stay focused and accountable. I’ve started Chapter 1 and my goal is to finish it during this intensive. On that note, off to work on Chapter 1!