Most of us have had the experience of finishing a project at the last minute or late, and not being proud of what we have accomplished. Maybe we just couldn’t seem to find the time to devote to the project or we were frequently interrupted. Procrastination is a term applied to putting things off until later, but what can we do about it? Join us Thursday, November 5, from 1-2 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, “Seven Time Management Strategies to Begin, Keep Working On, and Complete Your Projects” by academic author and coach Mary Beth Averill, who will explore 7 proven strategies for getting started, keeping at it, and finishing our projects.
Eighty authors participated in TAA’s six-week Summer 2020 Writing Gym, which was held July 20-August 31. The gym included templates for tracking writing time and developing a six-week workout plan, TAA Writing Gym-branded writing journal, weekly inspirational emails, 6 on-demand writing classes, several writing stations that allowed participants to target specific writing areas, and a Facebook Group for networking with other gym members.
In a survey sent out after the close of the summer gym, the majority of respondents gave the gym 5 stars, and rated features like the Facebook Group and Writing Classes as Very High Quality or Quality. “I loved the writing gym. It helped me get on track with my writing. The videos and short articles helped me with goal setting, organization, writing tips, etc. I highly recommend participating in the writing gym,” said Leslie Koberna. The majority of respondents said they averaged 2-4 days per week of writing while participating in the gym. Said Koberna: “Most of the time, I averaged 4 days a week, but the last two weeks I worked 6 days a week on my writing:).”
Is your dissertation dragging you down? Are you dragging your feet, your manuscript in sorry tow behind you like an annoying younger brother? Are you doing the impossible already—on campus or online, like many other graduate students juggling family, work, and school? Your academic struggles are intensified by the stresses of such multiple responsibilities and, possibly, loss of your long-range picture.
From what I’ve learned and observed as a longtime coach of graduate students and writer of creative projects, here I address some issues that can trip you up. And I share some steadying remedies so you handle your dissertation and other creative projects with less dragging and more speed and even enthusiasm.
It’s 8:30 a.m.
Time to refill my mug of tea, revive my computer, and work on the ol’ textbook. I know I have a lot to do, but I feel good … at first. Then I catch a glimpse of my bloated task list and I’m immediately discouraged.
Let’s see. I still haven’t finished the manuscript for the sixth and final unit. The copyeditor is already sending batches of early chapters for my approval, the artists need corrections on drafts of new figures, the designer wants a decision on the cover photo, and a professor who uses my current edition wants more coverage of tardigrades. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I also have classes to teach, meetings to attend, and personal responsibilities that I can’t abandon. Suddenly, I’m in a tizzy.
The new self-help book, Guide to Making Time to Write: 100 + Time & Productivity Management Tips for Textbooks and Academic Authors, is a welcomed addition to my professional library. My only negative comment is that I needed it thirty years ago!
Authors often have two major issues when developing a manuscript: 1) how to make it professional quality, and 2) how they will ever have time to write it. There is a myth that every author wants to write the great American novel. That is not true. What we really want is to have written the great American novel. It is hard work and takes hours of time to develop a professional quality manuscript. This is where the guide becomes my Bible.
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.