Take your work on a date
What strategies do you use to make your writing enjoyable? In her TAA Conference presentation, “Creative Scheduling for Those Who Have ‘All the Time in the World’ and ‘No Time At All’”, Katy Peplin shared what it looks like to “take your work on a date”.
Before planning to crash your next romantic outing with your journal article, the following is meant to prepare for an exciting opportunity to grow closer to your work, not your soulmate. Peplin shares a five-step process for this productive writing strategy.
1) Get to know it in advance
Much like online dating scenarios where you might check out profiles of potential matches worthy of your time, Peplin says that “you get to know your topic in a lower stakes way – you familiarize yourself with it”. Whether Googling your possible research topics or considering various alternatives, get familiar with some things before sitting down to write.
2) Make a plan
“I will meet my work at the coffee shop on Saturday and I will wear my best writing pants”, says Peplin. The same way that you may plan an outing with someone special, you can get yourself ready and schedule time to work on your project.
3) Make it feel special
If you create a scenario that makes the work feel special – a different location than your usual writing, additional perks like a special drink or treat enjoyed only when you are working on that project, etc. – you can overcome feelings of boredom or frustration. Peplin notes, “The more pleasurable your work feels to you, the less likely you are to avoid it.”
4) Anticipation is different than anxiety
“I miss this project or idea” is very different from “I have to work on this project because it’s due in two weeks.” According to Peplin, distance from a project is potentially beneficial, especially when it’s framed as anticipation.
5) Communication is key
“If you just put your writing down with no real plan to pick it back up or no idea in your head about when you’re going to re-engage it, that’s a poor way to end a date”, says Peplin. Communicate clearly to yourself what the next steps for the project are before ending the date.
Now that you know the steps for taking your work on a date, it’s time to plan that next “date night” with your writing project.