D, a doctoral student who is now a tenured professor, had a sign on her computer in the research lab which read ‘If I write today, I will feel good’. Each day she tried to write 2 pages or 1000 words of her thesis. If she succeeded in writing at all, the people in the lab at the time gave her a high 5. A partial goal, but enough to help D to succeed., a doctoral candidate, had a full time work role, two small children and a long commute to the university. Each morning she arose at 5 am, spent 2 hours at her computer before the children woke and the rest of her day fell into place. Those 2 quiet hours were sacred for her – and ultimately they are why she succeeded. A. had a similar routine, though she allocated 3 hours to her thesis every weekday evening after her small children were in bed. She made herself stay at the computer for the full 3 hours. She told me that, some evenings she would stare for the whole time at her blank screen, but other evenings the writing would flow. She thought that, although the 3 blank hours felt like a waste at the time and often she left feeling defeated, they may well have been ‘incubation’ time during which she was able to orient to aspects of her thesis and where she needed to go with them.