I’ve begun to try the writing every morning thing again. Last time I did this, I ended up getting sick and giving up – my immune system needs it’s sleep, apparently. This time, though, I’m going to be less crazy (getting up at 5:30, instead of 5am) and more vitamin-y (vitamin D is my friend). The point of this is to have a specified time every day where I just write. I can work on emails that need to be sent, article proposals or articles, presentation materials, diary entries – whatever comes up that needs to be written, edited, revised or reviewed.
The idea comes from the book “How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing” by Paul J. Silvia. I don’t have a lot of academic writing to do, nor do I have the kind of job that I can just carve out the 8 – 10am hours as “writing time” (though I do have 2 hours a week carved out as writing time for getting board reports, work blogging, grant writing and such done) as he does. Other than that, the main idea behind the book is to schedule time to write, then sit your butt down and do it as scheduled every day.
He has other suggestions, such as how to keep track of your writing output and setting writing goals and such, but the main theme of the book is to sit down and write at a scheduled time on a regular basis and to treat that scheduled time as a hard-and-fast meeting with yourself that you can’t break.
I’ve been sticking to this schedule for a week now and it’s pretty amazing what you can get done in about a half hour a day (from 5:45 to 6:15am). It’s also amazing how much pressure it takes off of your day to know that you have already done your writing and you don’t have to stress about when it will get done – because it’s scheduled and taken care of. The other benefit that Paul mentioned in the book but that I was a bit skeptical of was the fact that just by writing regularly you will come up with more ideas for your writing – and will write much more than if you do it sporadically. This is true – I’m coming up with all kinds of ideas for articles and maybe even another book (we’ll see if a publisher agrees with me…).
The goal then is to grab some more time from my day, not get sick, produce some written stuff (much like I’ve just done here!) and get paid for it. I’ll keep you all posted on how that goes… 😉