Sitting down to write is an emotional process that we attach to our self-worth, which becomes even more difficult because it is also instrumental, the key to a career and a voice in the world. We have developed a system based on our own experiences in the academy, from working with graduate students in this program for six years, and from extensive research. We do not want to teach you how to work within this system and thrive despite it but to integrate within your practices ways to actually challenge the myths and toxic elements of that culture and thrive as a writer and educator. We do this by advocating more productive workflows and structures that do not require you to work all the time; by understanding how academia and society constructs and causes us to internalize toxic narratives about ourselves; by understanding dissertation writing as a creative and communal practice rather than a solitary intellectual endeavor; and by prioritizing your health and humanity over everything else.


There are three parts of our writing program: 1.) Focus on the writing process 2.) Planning and 3.) Community. 

Understanding the/your Writing Process

  • Workshops to develop an awareness of your writing process and your challenges

  • Developing a daily writing practice with sustainable habits that prioritize a healthy and full life

  • Monthly check-ins with cohort and staff with focus points for each meeting about the writing process


  • Reverse Timeline to Completion

  • Dissertation Task-Based Outline

  • Time-Blocked Calendar and Unschedule

  • Cohort check-ins

  • Writing partners

  • Peer-reviews of your writing

  • Support provided by faculty mentors, Mellong staff, IUPLR Directors

The writing program for Mellon is based primarily on ideas and research from the NCFDD excellent dissertation curriculum, Kel Weinhold's free webinars for UNSTUCK (The Professor is In), Nel Fiore's book, The Now Habit, Cal Newport's book and podcast Deep Work, Michelle Boyd's amazing writing blog Inkwell Writing Retreats, Barbara Semecka's book, The Writing Workshop, Wendy Belcher's Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks, and Clive Thompson,  “Hundreds of Ways to Get S#!+ Done—and We Still Don’t”