Curing our time ills: Review of ‘Guide to Making Time to Write’
TAA’s forthcoming book, Guide to Making Time to Write, is an invaluable compendium of suggestions and solutions for all the writing time troubles that beset us. I must admit I’m a contributor to this book; nevertheless, many of of the tips helped me tremendously to treat my writing time ailments—like conveniently missing a day, or several, because of “necessities”; or avoiding the piece that will give me the most satisfaction in favor of minor editing on another.
The book has many aids for such maladies and more—with large sections on time management, productivity, templates for schedules, and recommendations for software. You can go directly to a section or—almost as effective—browse at random. I kept discovering new pointers, like acknowledging when I’m getting too tired to continue creatively or productively and quitting, or working another ten minutes and then another spurred on by a delicious bribe, for me a nightlong binge of Las Vegas reruns.
In addition to the book’s many bulleted points you can pop like quick-fix pills, the sidebars of a “Featured Strategy” bring warmth and relatability. The sidebars present personal examples, with photos of the writers/scholars, advising how they specifically use time management and writing techniques. For example, Professor Gertrude Fraser counsels,
Play with words and allow your mind to be distracted . . . . Take time to write them down in a voice that perhaps you would not use in an academic article . . . . Many writing advice gurus talk about writing as if it was a purely cognitive, technically imbued skill. They are wrong. I go with those who claim academic writing as an emotionally captivating, creative process and always a struggle, a problem to be solved. It’s important to let the mind go free . . . . In doing so many new relationships and articulations begin to emerge. (p. 21)
Such wise advice and testimonies aren’t only enlightening but comforting. As Professor Fraser incisively points out, writing isn’t mechanistic. Sure, after a few drafts we use our mechanical editorial skills, but I agree with her. The essence of making time to write, I believe, is to recognize our intuitive gifts and undeniable drive to creativity in writing and to connect with them. Then our time management will take care of itself.
But we may forget that drive, and whatever our level of experience and expertise, most of us suffer similar distresses of productivity and time. Often we find all kinds of (creative) ways to avoid writing. TAA’s Guide to Making Time to Write, a welcome resource and savior, gives us many excellent remedies to help us overcome our writing ills.
© Noelle Sterne 2020
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