Just write

David Romer’s Rules for Making It Through Graduate School
and Finishing Your Dissertation


“Out in Five”

  1. Don’t clutter up your life with other activities; just write.
  2. Don’t carry out a thorough and comprehensive search of the literature; just write.
  3. Don’t attempt to make sure that every page you write shows the full extent of your professional skills; just write.
  4. Don’t write a well-organized, well-integrated, unified dissertation; just write.
  5. Don’t think profound thoughts that shake the intellectual foundations of the discipline; just write.
  6. If you don’t have a paper started by the spring of your third year, be alarmed.
  7. If you don’t have a paper largely drafted by the fall of your fourth year, panic.
  8. Have three new ideas a week while you are getting started.
  9. Don’t try to game the profession, work on what interests you.
  10. Good papers in economics have three characteristics:
    • A viewpoint.
    • A lever.
    • A result.
This is a fax to myself.  I first saw this list on my 1st year at grad school.  I was not out in five.  I know on which points from the above list I did well and on which ones I was more lackluster.  (Of course, I won’t reveal it in here because everything you say on the web can be used against you.)