Friday, July 24, 2009

Shapeless days and shapeless nights . . .

Yesterday in one of our faculty summer book writing groups, a professor commented that her days have been feeling "shapeless" in the summer time. We're all supposed to be writing and oh-so-productive, but in the absence of a daily office structure that can be more difficult than it sounds.

The groups have come up with several smart ways to impose add shape to our summer days and get your academic book done. First -- and most important to all of us -- is joining and committing to a weekly faculty book writing group. We find that peer pressure is a terrific motivator, and that on days when we just don't feel like writing, the sense that friends/colleagues who care about our progress will want a full report is often enough to get us moving.

Second is setting up regular -- even daily -- writing dates with fellow authors. For example, it's Friday and I don't have any faculty book writing groups today, so it might be tempting to whittle away my whole morning on e-mail and low-value busywork. However, a faculty member is coming over to write for an hour and a half at 10 a.m., so I need to have my act together when he gets here. He has been here to write every day at 10 all week. Voila, structure!

If you're worried about wearing out a colleague's good will, then spread the energy around by writing with more people. Five authors come here at different times of the week to write (I write during most of these sessions, too), and in the fall there will be more.

No comments: