Permission granted! But not the kind you think.
Permission conjures up the image of asking a publisher to use a table or a photo from their publication in your next journal article. This post is not about those types of permission, but rather about the permission you give yourself.
We have all read too many articles (including mine) about how things have changed over the past year. Time challenges. Financial challenges. Changing and increasing demands in the classroom. Emotional rollercoasters. Pressure. The ground under us appears to be constantly shifting.
You need to take this all into account and be good with giving yourself permission.
Is a writing or research project not cutting it? Has it hit a wall or stagnated? Give yourself permission to drop it. Move on. Or change it. Flip it on its head.
Has a new idea or new focus come to your attention through all of the blur of last year? Have you considered diving into it and seeing what happens? Do not worry about existing projects. Give yourself permission to have your energy and imagination reignited. Consider starting a new project.
Writing or Research Partners:
Your current or past partners may have been changed by recent circumstances more than you. Perhaps they are not responding to your emails or not holding up their part of the bargain. Maybe they have been scattered in their work or writing. While this can be a tricky one both from a relationship and office politics point-of-view, a change might be welcomed on both sides. Give yourself permission to change the relationship.
Maybe this means redefining who does what? Or the order of authors. Or deadlines. Or, gulp, ending the partnership on that project. It may not be as easy as dropping a solo project, but at least consider it. Better to navigate these waters than to be burdened with a challenging partner through the rest of the process. (One note, if the project is going to end, you will need to mutually agree on the work product, who owns it, and what could be done with it. Reach out to me to discuss these challenges if they apply).
Alter Your Writing Schedule:
I am a firm advocate of setting a schedule for your writing/work and sticking to it. This is successful as a rule, but rules are made to be broken. If you have been stressing over keeping or missing a writing session, give yourself permission to redo the schedule. You are only human and the schedule needs to integrate with the reality of your life. Give yourself permission to take time off as well. Just remember that a break is okay, but do not let a break turn into forever.
Zig instead of Zag:
Perhaps you have been following the same path during your writing career. Perhaps it has worked for you, but maybe it is not working right now. Give yourself permission to take a new approach. Now is the time. Mix it up and turn some of these lemons into iced tea.
Whatever our reality is when this is “done,” we will need to remain flexible but still focused on quality, grounded writing and research. Try to reduce the internal stress in your life by granting yourself permission. Flexibility is the key.
John Bond is a publishing consultant at Riverwinds Consulting. He works with individuals on publishing and writing projects. Schedule an initial complimentary phone call at Publishing Fundamentals. In his career, he has directed the publishing of over 500 book titles and 20,000 journal articles. He is the host of the YouTube channel “Publishing Defined.” Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.