How to battle distraction and maintain consistency in a crisis

distracted studentHaving spent the better part of the last month in social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, we are all faced with additional distractions from the media, environmental changes, and perhaps more time with family members in our current workspace than ever before. Whether facing personal fears, trying to maintain a sense of “normal”, or directly dealing with the effects of the crisis, it’s easy to become distracted and lose sight of our goals.

John C. Maxwell says, “a distraction is something that pulls us away from progress and confuses us.” Further, he notes that a distraction is the opposite of traction and identifies three main types of distractions during a crisis: mind wandering, negative thinking, and uncertain anxiety. In this post, we offer clarification on each of those three distractions and ways you can combat them in your efforts to regain traction toward your writing goals. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 27, 2020

“Write until it becomes as natural as breathing. Write until not writing makes you anxious.” ~Christina KatzAmidst the stress and constant concern associated with the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic crisis, I had greatly hoped to present non-pandemic related content in this list of articles from around the web. Of course, I knew that would be a long-shot, but I was hopeful regardless. As textbook and academic authors, we are unfortunately not immune to the “real world” issues that span the globe and this list demonstrates some of the ways our academic community has been impacted by the novel coronavirus and how we are addressing the related effects.

Included in the collection are tips for writing while distracted, continuing research efforts and managing the risks associated with the pandemic, and completing PhD defenses virtually. There are also articles on imagining forward, the impact of COVID-19 on academic conferences, and methods for teaching online. Finally, there is an opinion article on the importance of coming together as an academic community in times of crisis.

Anxiety is inevitable at times like this. Writing, for many of us, can be an outlet for that stress and concern. To maintain a healthy writing habit during this time of crisis, it may even be helpful to follow the advice of Christina Katz who said, “Write until it becomes as natural as breathing. Write until not writing makes you anxious.” Happy writing! [Read more…]

Reality check: 5 Ways to combat imposter syndrome

imposter syndromeI can’t do this! What were they thinking when they picked me to write this textbook? Who am I to be conducting this research? Everyone at this presentation is going to know all of this already. I have nothing new to offer to this conversation.

These are just a few of the messages that imposter syndrome may share with you as an author in academia. And each can be the wall that limits or delays your success. Or you can find ways to get a reality check and overcome these false feelings of being unqualified for the task at hand. Below I offer five such ways to combat imposter syndrome. [Read more…]

Get back on track: 4 types of writing stalls and how to recover

Stopping dominoes from fallingHave one or more of your writing projects seemed to stall? Do you have a project that needs finishing, but continues to be pushed aside? The good news is you’re not alone. The even better news is there are ways to identify what is keeping the project unfinished and to either move it forward or out of the way.

In her recent TAA webinar, Get Your Stalled Writing Project Back on Track, Joli Jensen, author of Write No Matter What: Advice for Academics, suggested that we “shift our attitude” regarding stalls and “acknowledge that stalls happen and are a natural part of the writing process.” By doing so, we can better identify the type of stall we are facing and apply structured techniques to overcome the stall. To help with this process, Jensen identified four types of writing stalls and methods for overcoming each. [Read more…]

Finding your flow: Establishing a pace that works for you

Establishing a pace that works for youIn my academic coaching and editing practice, I have many clients voicing a similar concern: that they’re not working as hard as their colleagues. They tell me stories of colleagues who show up on weekends, or work with their doors closed for 10 hours or more on the weekdays. My clients repeat these stories of their colleagues often. From my observation, these stories serve several purposes: [Read more…]