Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer Writing Productivity

We hope your summer is both productive and fun so far. A collection of articles and links have been piling up on our desk concerning writing strategy, so we thought we would share the bounty at this point in the summer break (mid-way already!) just in case you could use a little extra motivation. It all began with an article in an Oprah magazine - a writer was attempting to find the most productive method to turn out work (play around with the work space, join writers groups, etc), when she stumbled on the idea of a Writer's Contract. The idea is simple: accountability. Studies show that accountability is the key to all sorts of life-changing success (weight loss, rehabilitation, etc). The link above shows you a sample contract, but the article details how to enforce it as well. This particular writer set up a standing "writing date" with a trusted friend who held her accountable for a certain amount of writing time. You, of course, can alter the terms of the contract to suit your individual writing needs. The author of the recent Chronicle article For the Love of Writing also recommends a form of accountability whether it is keeping a blog or posting publicly on Facebook. In addition the author provides seven reasons why she is a successful academic writer all summer long including writing every day. This last piece of advice is one we have seen across the board in productivity posts - to consider writing something, anything, each and every day. If staring at a blank screen every day sounds scary and decidedly unproductive, try turning it into a game. One of our colleagues recommended writing sites such as 750 Words and Writing Streak, both of which award you points (and sometimes other rewards) for reaching certain writing goals. Earning points and competing with other writers may just be the motivation you need to write every day, but it also proves successful because the goal (750 words for example) is manageable. Still, even with abundant ideas and manageable writing goals, the evil monster of procrastination can keep us from making progress. The best answer is to know yourself and what distracts you. Maybe it is where you work or when - if what it takes to squeeze work out of you is a closed door or a closet office (one idea from the O magazine), then give it a try. We have also found a concise list of 4 Ways to Kick Web Procrastination which provides links to web procrastination tools including sites that block social networks, other windows (besides your word processor), and the internet in general. It even suggests a site that bullies you when you stop writing! One final piece of writing advice we receive from seasoned academic writers is just this: the best article/paper/abstract/dissertation is one that is finished. We hope you find this post helpful, and remember you can follow this blog via email with the bar at the right or you can like us on Facebook to receive regular updates.
What other procrastination suggestions do you have? Have you tried other writing motivation websites? Do you have other productivity posts to suggest? Please share them with our readers in the comment box below.

Borrowed from PhD Comics

No comments:

Post a Comment