Friday, April 25, 2014

On Writing

Do you have trouble finding time to write? More accurately, who doesn't have a problem finding time to write?

This is a pertinent issue for me, because I am several pages into an article that must go out in the August law review cycle. Paul Silvia, from UNC's Psychology department, has a wonderful book on finding time to write. He recently spoke on the main campus of UMass-Dartmouth, and his words of wisdom were inspiring. The advice is simple: schedule writing like you schedule a class. Making cancelling your writing time as challenging as cancelling a class (reschedule, notify people, shift around other commitments). If you need to be held accountable (I do), then create some form of writing support group. Make sure you write down your goals, so you are held accountable and avoid revisionist history. Choose a time that can't be gobbled up by other commitments. Realize that 3-5pm is always a bad time, because that is when most students drop by, meetings are scheduled, and life drops problems in your lap. All this advice is common sense, but I needed to hear it from someone else in order to have the "ah-ha!" moment. 

Earlier this year, I read a great piece in the New York Times on procrastination. Procrastination is another one of my bad habits. It is a habit that solidified in college, when I would keep a steady research pace, and then "forget" to write until the weekend before an assignment was due. The end result was a well-researched, but hastily written, paper. I was never particularly proud of my work, because I knew I could do better if I kept a steady writing pace as well as a steady research pace. Merrill Markoe's piece on procrastination in the New York Times details what moved her past procrastination. Boredom is a large part of moving past procrastination. Give yourself the freedom to do whatever you want, as long as it is writing. Second, start early in the morning, before your mind is cluttered with other tasks.

With this in mind, I have scheduled writing time every week. And it is early in the morning. (RCF)

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