PencilsWhen you are writing articles - under pressure from the tenure clock - do you ever hear voices telling you that each word must be perfect?  Or what about thinking that the crafting of each sentence is an arduous process? 

As a faculty member, particularly when you are under pressure to get writing done for the tenure process, there are many voices competing in your head (some of which are not particularly helpful).  If you've had success in other types of writing, you may be able to identify with this question: 

In my former life as a fundraiser, I wrote with ease and with a great deal of success. With my academic writing, it is simply painful. It seems like I have to have done so much preparation even to begin writing a sentence.  Can you offer some suggestions to help me quiet these voices telling me that I have to have each word 'perfect' before I write it down?

  1. Separate your editor and your composer.  This will help you and all other writers immensely.  So, for example, on some days, go ahead and generate ideas for your articles, then flesh them out on subsequent days, and then take a day or two to begin to revise what you've written.  Do NOT try to do both composing (generating) and editing on the same day and particularly, don't try to have these two competing processes going on at the same time. It does not work. I wish I had learned that a LONG time ago. It would have made a world of difference for me.
  2. Focus on the success you have had and will continue to have as a writer. You know perfectly well that you know how to write coherent, powerful sentences and compelling text. You are now writing it in a different format and you have been trained to do so.  Focus on the flow.
  3. Keep your audience in mind. Your audience members are those people who will read your writing when it has been published and will be enriched by your insight, your discoveries, and the way that you can offer this information to them. If you don't get your writing completed (and submitted to journals or other appropriate publications), then the world has missed out. You're doing this for yourself, yes (to earn tenure) but you are doing this for a bigger reason. Often, focusing on that aspect serves to keep the writing moving along.

It matters whether you write. You can be successful if you put forth the time, energy, and effort. Or, you could just bemoan the fact that it's not that easy. Of which would you be more proud?

propellingFor more tools and tips to help you in your writing journey, consider Get a Plan! Guide® to Writing Better, Faster, & (Yes!) More Easily part of the Get a Plan! Guide® Series designed to give you the ideas and inspiration to do your work easier, faster, and in a more focused fashion.

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