Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's the time for the season of writing...

For most of us, the official school year is over giving way to that holy grail of the academic life, SUMMERS OFF!!(HAHAHAhahahahahahaha...hahahahaha...*gasp*....hahahahahaha..), perhaps better known as "damn, I better write about 50 pages a day or I am screwed." The writing could be finishing up those manuscripts that have been languishing under a pile of exams, grant proposals for summer deadlines, book prospectuses, or even dissertations. For those ABD's starting new positions this fall, the summer can be the final brutal stretch of non-stop writing before having to load up a moving truck. If all of this is overwhelming (and dammit, if it's not, then you are so much of a rock star that I don't think I can be friends with you) please check out Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis, the classic tome by Joan Bolker. There are of course many other excellent guides on this topic as well as productivity more generally, but this is the one I find most helpful, and it extends to writing projects other than dissertations. While geared a little more toward the humanities and the more social of the social sciences (e.g. we really need to incorporate time for labwork and data analysis into our writing process - they go hand in hand), the overall tone is approachable and reasonable.

An important tip for creating time to write that Bolker ignores but that worked wonders for me while writing my dissertation: don't shower, change your clothes, or leave the house for days at a time. Also, Doritos and Diet Coke help. (You're welcome!)

7 comments:

  1. LOL I acknowledged diet coke and top ramen in my dissertation! I also really enjoy that its easy to justify procrastination by investigating ways to improve productivity!

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  2. pretzels work with diet coke, too ;-)

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  3. The Bolker book is good. My other most favorite is How to Write A Lot by Paul Silvia. He's a psychologist, but it is still a good book. :)

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  4. @Katherine - you are engaging in participant-observation in researching ways to become a more productive procrastinator. That is a skillset that I deeply covet.

    @Laurie - I imagine that part of the secret of writing a lot is perfecting Hemingwayesque brevity. That is a masterful title. "

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  5. Julienne, you are an inspiration. Maybe I'll sit down with that book for a semester or two to maximize productivity.

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  6. I concur with the not showering or changing clothes. Hours, even days, were saved from socializing!

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  7. my "15-minutes" book even survived a Minnesota summer flood! great advice, Julienne.

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