Kerry Ann Rockquemore’s summer series on scholarly and professional writing in Inside Higher Ed continues, last week with the admonition “Lower Your Standards,” and this week reminding us, “Writing Is Thinking.”
Last week in “Lower Your Standards” Rockquemore acknowledged that at mid-summer you may have become frustrated or discouraged, either because of procrastination or unrealistic expectations. She suggests examining your expectations and offers four strategies for recalibrating (and for becoming more productive even if you’ve been procrastinating).
This week in “Writing Is Thinking” Rockquemore discusses disempowerment when it comes to writing, the “limiting set of beliefs about the writing process, the relationship between our thoughts and the physical act of writing, and what it takes to sit down and write.” (Think about the “glass ceilings” that you impose on your writing and your career, perhaps the product of the Impostor Syndrome.) She offers suggestions for breaking the blocks to writing.
The bottom line is simple, but it requires an often very difficult behavioral change (rescripting the maladaptive behaviors that Boice calls “bingeing” and “busyness”). As Bockquemore advises:
If you’re not writing, block out 30-60 minutes every day, Monday through Friday, for writing. Don’t just say you’ll do it, really try it for two weeks. And don’t forget to build in some accountability because trying to start a new habit alone is a recipe for misery and isolation. Whenever I work with people whose resistance comes from feeling disempowered about writing, I ask them to write every day for 30-60 minutes. When they actually write every day consistently, they are astounded to learn that: 1) they can write no matter how they feel, 2) a lot can be accomplished in a short amount of time, and 3) it’s deeply intellectually satisfying to be close to their work on a daily basis.