How to get back on track

You meant business. You gathered all of your research materials and notes. You came up with a plan and set a timeline. You had two solid sessions writing and made some good progress. Things were moving along. Yes, deadlines to disseminate your research and work were looming but the train was moving forward.

Then life started to intervene.

Are school and spirituality irreconcilable?

Does spirituality go with school, specifically graduate school? School requires your intellect; spirituality requires surrendering your intellect. School lives on logic and realism; spirituality survives on faith.

I used to hold fiercely to these assumptions. Spirituality and school were completely contradictory, I thought, or at least separate.

Privately, I’ve often applied spirituality in my longtime academic practice coaching and advising doctoral candidates as they complete their dissertations. I forgive an ornery client, ask for guidance on a daunting project, let the right assuaging words flow through before a difficult meeting.

Use your inner mentor for your academic project predicaments

Most of us probably had mentors in graduate school and may still keep in touch with them. But they may not be available every time we need their advice or guidance. Did you know? We have a mentor that’s always available, night and day, every season and semester, for every situation and circumstance.

The IM

This is your Inner Mentor (IM), also called your inner guide, self, voice, spirit, higher power, soul, subconscious, guidance system, intuition, even your heart or gut. It has more power than the dean of your school, your department or committee chair, or even the guy who issues your annual parking sticker.

Tips for anxious writers: You are not an imposter

Many academic writers fear that their work is not good enough and not important enough, and also that they themselves are not good enough. Such doubts are well-known in academia, and recognized by the phrase “imposter syndrome.” Trying to write often triggers such doubts and their subsequent anxiety, which interferes with the focus needed for good writing. If you’re thinking “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t have anything worth saying,” your focus is being drawn away from the things that you do have to say, and how to say them effectively to reach your audience.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 29, 2022

There are so many aspects to academic writing, and a lot of it is centered on self doubt and, of course, an attitude of discovery and learning. Octavia E. Butler reminds us aspiring authors, however, that “You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”

This week’s collection of articles includes practices, tips, tricks, and secrets for building an effective writing practice. Further, it includes advice on building relationships, finding your publishing avenues, and tackling discussion and debate.

As you continue developing your craft as an academic author, stay persistent, learn from others who have been there, and before you know it you will be writing “good stuff” yourself. Happy writing!