For this spring, I have a very optimistic plan when it comes to writing and have therefore decided to commit to a writing challenge. I will start with a 30 days writing challenge and thereafter evaluate my progress. I have recently read a few books on the topic of becoming a productive academic writer and feel inspired to try some of the tips from this literature. The plan is easy – it centers around the following four guidelines:
- Regularly set aside writing time in the calendar.
- Separate fast and slow writing and plan these for different occasions.
- Set up reasonable goals along the way.
- If possible, set up a writing support group and meet on a regular basis to talk about the writing process.
Many of the books about productive writing claim that “the more you write, the easier it gets”. To test this idea, I have decided to write every day (workdays only) during this 30 days challenge. The first step is to allot time to write and mark these in the calendar to make sure that nothing else gets in the way. The actual time per day I can set aside for writing varies depending on what other commitments I have to attend, but my goal is to write for at least 30 minutes a’ day.
To follow guideline number two and three, I will plan each writing session both with respect to goals and type of writing. Fast writing is generally the first step in which you create a bulk of text and try your very best to not overthinking it. The ambition is to just write and don’t worry about whether it is good writing or not. This text is likely to look at bit messy but that is okay because when you switch to slow writing, the task is to iterate the text and slowly turn it into a cohesive draft. Writing is rarely a linear process and for this 30 days writing challenge, I plan to go back and forth between fast and slow writing as I iterate my text.
As support through this writing challenge, a few colleagues and I plan to meet once every week to discuss our writing projects. We are all working on different things so these meetings will not be about the specific topic of our writings but rather a time a place where we can talk freely about both ups and downs in our writing process. Hopefully, this group of people will be able to both celebrate successes and provide comfort and support when needed.
Okay, so this is my strategy for the 30 days writing challenge. Wish me luck! And of course, feel free to adapt the guidelines in any way that might suit you on your journey towards becoming a more productive writer.
- 30 days writing challenge - February 18, 2020
- What I wish I’d known when I started my PhD - January 21, 2020
- Wrapping up a PhD Course on Everyday Work as a Researcher - January 14, 2020