Exploring the Emotional Arc of Turning a Dissertation into a Book


Imposter syndrome. Intellectual fatigue. Feeling like you have nothing interesting to say. Not liking your topic or your research anymore. Wondering if anyone even cares if you write a book. Is a pile of emotional luggage getting in the way of your progress? On this episode of the Academic Life, Dr. Leslie Wang joins us to talk about emotional blocks that arise when turning a dissertation into a book, and what to do about them.

Inside most scholars are the criticisms and judgments we’ve carried since graduate school (and a few we’ve carried longer than that), many of which have made a space inside us as our “inner critics,” and some of which leave us questioning our claim to being a writer at all. Dr. Wang takes us through three key questions we need to ask ourselves, offers suggestions for how to handle our inner critics, helps us imagine a generous reader awaiting our new book, and invites us to interrogate how the grind mentality is affecting our creativity.

Our guest is: Dr. Leslie Wang, who is a former Associate Professor of Sociology, at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She holds a PhD and Master’s Degree in Sociology, from the University of California Berkeley, and an International Coach Federation Certification. She is the author of Outsourced Children, and Chasing the American Dream in China, and the founder of Your Words Unleashed. When she is not working with high-achieving scholars, she enjoys cooking, international travel, and spending time with her husband and son.

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, who is the host and producer of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in history, which she uses to explore what stories we tell and what happens to those we never tell.

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Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler is the creator, show host, and producer of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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