that feeling when you save all your writing for the summer and don't want to write because it's summer
— Shit Academics Say (@AcademicsSay) June 13, 2017
As of my writing, there are over 1,100 likes and 3,100 retweets on this post.
I read through the replies to the post and saw many academics commiserating with this statement.
This got me thinking… A lot of people struggle with making time for their writing.
Let’s get you back on track with your writing and make it a productive summer:
- Pick a time, every workday, that you are going to write. Block it off on your calendar so you can’t hold any other appointments. It can be as little as 30 minutes to be effective.
- Use a reminder email/app to help keep you on track.
- Find a comfortable and productive environment to work. You know yourself – do you do better with absolute quiet or in a bustling coffee shop with lots of background noise?
- Limit the distractions. Close your email. Set your phone on silent (or Do Not Disturb). Shut your office door.
- Do the easy stuff first. Basically, start with the low-hanging fruit or least stressful part of writing. Could be the Methods section or setting up a template for the journal format.
- When you pick up writing work from the previous day, start writing new content. Don’t start by editing old stuff. You can always go back at the end and edit.
- Set writing deadlines to work toward. “By next Wednesday, I will have a first draft of the Introduction completed.” Write it in your calendar or to-do list.
- If you’ve been writing for more than an hour straight, take a quick break – to get a drink, to the bathroom, outside for some air – and then get back to your writing. This can be a great way to refresh your mind.
- Add a carrot and a stick. Give yourself a reward for sticking to your deadlines. Give yourself something painful to do when you don’t meet your goals (think giving money to a charity that you would never support.)
- Have somebody else look at your work along the way. They can hold you accountable for your goals and help you get unblocked.
- Hire someone to help you write or edit. Let’s face it, there are things that you do best and enjoy doing. If writing is not one of them, consider getting a professional writer to help out and free up your time for better things.
Let me know which of the ideas above worked best for you.
If you’ve found other ways that really helped you meet your writing goals, please add them below. I’m always interested in new productivity hacks.