Confronting the anxiety of academic writing: What if anxiety about academic writing were to be taken seriously?

The first step in confronting the anxiety of academic writing is to ask, “What if anxiety about academic writing were to be taken seriously, rather than ignored, treated as a punchline, or accepted as inevitable?” said Rachael Cayley, author of the forthcoming book, Thriving as a Graduate Writer: Principles, Strategies, and Habits for Effective Academic Writing, in her October 19, 2022 TAA webinar, “Confronting the Anxiety of Academic Writing”, available on demand.

“If we instead try to understand why academic writing is the site of so much anxiety, we can then find ways to improve the experience of academic writers,” she said.

Register for AcWriMo 2022 Webinar: How Academic Writing Coaches Get Unstuck

Ever wonder what a writing coach does when they get stuck in their manuscript? Join Boyd, Mazak and Wang as they describe the biggest challenges they’ve faced when writing books and what they do to move past them. They’ll describe some of the key ways that scholars get tripped up when writing and share examples from their recent experiences with their own books. They’ll also discuss the strategies they recommend to junior and senior faculty members and what happens when they take their own advice.

Advice: Do nothing

How is your schedule?

If you are like the rest of the people I know, you either:

  • Rolled your eyes,
  • Snorted,
  • Laughed,
  • Said, “Don’t ask,”
  • Had a dark cloud come over your face,
  • Or took a deep breath.

Feeling pushed to the max is the number one response I get nowadays when I ask someone about where they are with their writing and work.

9 Tips from TAA Conversation Circle discussions

The past three TAA Conversation Circle discussions were packed with tips and strategies from TAA members! Here are just 9 tips shared during these discussions:

Writing Strategies

“At the end of each day, I print out what I have drafted. And then the next day, whenever it is I ended the previous day, that’s my starting point, rather than trying to scratch my head and figure out where I was when I left off.” – Margaret Reece

Use meditation and mindfulness in your major project

Use spiritual principles or practices in your important academic project. “What!” you cry, “Academics and religion/spirituality don’t mix, like ice cream and boiled kidney!”

But . . . as you wrestle with your Major Work, do you crave less anxiety, more confidence, better work flow, even real answers to all those knotty quandaries?

Meditation and mindfulness can help. In my academic coaching practice, I’ve found, to my surprise, that many graduate students in their dissertations and professors in their articles use spiritual methods to help them through the Purgatory of academic writing. And I encourage them, primarily in two ways—meditation and mindfulness.

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.