Advice for a newly-minted PhD: write that second book quickly

Just completed a PhD? If so, you are probably completely sick and tired of the whole process. The last thing you want to do is engage in further research, since the PhD thesis was like scaling a Mt. Everest of information, ideas, and directions. Who would want to do that again in the near future?

So take a tip from a film director, whose name escapes me: after a first blockbuster, make your second film quickly. There’s plenty of ideas in your head, many of which could not make it into a PhD. You have done the reading and thinking. So write that second book quickly. Six months is all it needs, for a sharp, short book.

Why? That way you realise it doesn’t take another massive effort to complete a writing project. By the time you have finished, new ideas will be forming, further books planned.

Too often I meet people who peaked with a PhD. It may have been a solid, perhaps even influential work that made it into a book. Then they fiddle, become distracted, think of a second book that would surpass the PhD and make a huge splash. A year, two years, a decade flows by, with no result. Some bury themselves in teaching, others are seduced by administrative positions and the associated crumbs of power. By now the chance is gone, and what may appear is a strangled effort, squeezed out between short nights and the petty political games of overblown egos.

Forget all that crap. Get your head down and write the second book, quickly.


10 thoughts on “Advice for a newly-minted PhD: write that second book quickly

  1. Reblogged this on Progressive Geographies and commented:
    Interesting advice on book writing from Roland de Boer. Six months is unrealistic for a lot of people, and it certainly takes me a lot longer, but I’ve always been well on the way with the next book when one is actually published. And Understanding Henri Lefebvre (my second book) did indeed pick up on unused parts of the PhD (which itself became Mapping the Present).

  2. Reblogged this on Drops of Experience and commented:
    Here is some good advice from Ronald Boer’s blog Stalin’s Moustache telling new Ph.D. graduates (like me) to get your next book done quickly. The six months he suggests might not be reasonable for most people. I am still trying to reconfigure my dissertation into its new book form and I’m past the six month mark. But I understand were Boer is coming from. Get you ideas out. Don’t let them linger. Write!

      1. This might become my current situation. I have my PhD-cum-book project and a smaller project that I am also working on, which might work for a smaller publisher.

        Thanks for this post.

  3. I finished my PhD in April, and hope to have it to the publishers by the end of the year. I would have done this already, but had some unfortunate family concerns mid-year. In the meantime, I have secured another contract, and a year of funding to get it out. It isn’t quite the 6 months, but pretty good nonetheless.

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