On BASE Writing Habits (and This Blog's Purpose)
As an editor, I work with texts, usually manuscript drafts that are pretty far along. I often have in-depth conversations with their authors—through phone or Skype, email, and the Comments feature in Word. We refine their points and tease out implications. We talk content, tone, audience. I serve as a surrogate reader—I read on behalf of future readers who won’t have the chance to ask the writer follow-up questions. I adore this process of helping writers refine their work.
What we don’t talk about is process. We don’t talk about what it takes to get words down on the page in the first place, or about how to find time to write when our schedules are full.
Because Willpower is Finite
Grant proposals, book manuscripts, job application materials—so many academic writing projects feel high stakes. If you’ve stalled out on a project, sometimes it helps to find ways to just “generate ingredients” for a later draft. Here are a few ways to get your ideas down (or generate ideas in the first place) that might feel lower stakes and less paralyzing.
Tackling Your Summer Writing
This past school year, I frequently started my workday feeling frazzled and worn out from wrangling my toddler and kindergartener for three hours in the morning before they went off to daycare and school. (My husband is a high school teacher and leaves the house early, so mornings are periods that I’m on solo kid duty.) Instead of getting down to work right away, I’d often steal “just a few minutes for myself” when I got back from kid drop-off. Inevitably, I’d want to do something easy and stimulating—reading the news or scrolling through social media. These few minutes would not infrequently turn into an hour, cutting into my precious daycare hours and leaving me feeling icky about the start to my workday.
It’s summer! A reprieve from the grueling pace of the school year…and also your chance to get on top of whatever projects have been languishing.
You need a break. Be sure to give yourself time to recharge and be away from work. Here are some ideas for making the most of your summer writing time when you dive back in.