More than six months ago, I met with a bright young UNC Philosophy graduate student who had worked as my research assistant on several book projects. She was ready to start writing her dissertation, but was rather daunted by the prospect, as many graduate students are when they become "ABD." I offered her the following deal: If she would write one page, or perhaps two, of her dissertation every single day, and send me what she had written that day as an email attachment, I would read it immediately and send back comments on the same day [or early the next morning.] She agreed, went home, and that night wrote page one of the dissertation. Every single day since then she has sent me a page or two and I have read it, save for a break this Fall when she had to do the elaborate preparation the Philosophy Department requires of those going on the job market.
Yesterday she sent me the last two pages of the final chapter. She now has a complete draft of the dissertation, just as I promised she would. There will be revisions, of course, but it is a certainty that she will receive the doctorate.
This is the fourth time I have done this with a student -- the first three with Afro-American Studies doctoral students at the University of Massachusetts. This is her triumph, not mine. After all, I did not write a word of the dissertation. But I take a certain pride in the accomplishment none the less.