Writing on Your Own Terms: Taking Control of Your Writing Process from Start to Finish

At Beyond the Professoriate, Jennifer Polk invites Jane Jones, PhD to share the secret of writing success. Jane is a writing coach and developmental editor at Up In Consulting. In the webinar, “Writing on Your Own Terms: Taking Control of Your Writing Process from Start to Finish,” Jane talks about writing procrastination, leading causes of these challenges, and strategies PhDs can use to overcome them.

The Problem: Writing Distractions and Perfectionism

How many of us have put off an important assignment for the “right time” only to find that we are already behind? Don’t worry–you are not alone. Many PhDs feel their work has to be perfect before starting the writing process, or that the day carries too many distractions for them to get any real writing done. Inevitably, we end up putting off writing until we can’t any longer.

“The good news,” says Jane, “is that you can take control of your writing.” Here are a few strategies Jane offers for overcoming any writing roadblocks that we may have and working towards a more productive schedule.

Strategy One: Track Your Time

The most common challenge in the writing process is that we underestimate how much time we need to complete a project. Keeping a log will help you figure out where you’re spending your time. And be honest: “log when distractions happen, too,” Jane advises. This is a perfect way to figure out what you don’t like about your current schedule and how to make changes that will help you optimize your daily writing time.

Strategy Two: Create Boundaries

As PhDs and graduate students, we’re all too aware of how distracting teaching, meetings, and emails can be. Jane’s advice: “Use your OOO message . . . get ‘out of office,’ away from email and other virtual distractions.” Jane adds, “we need to keep ourselves in our work . . . we are our own worst enemy in this regard.” Saying “no” to less important demands is a great way to stay on track.

Strategy Three: Create Moments of Opportunity

How many of us have thought, “I’ll write when I have the time?” asks Jane. “Well,” she continues, “this is a recipe for disaster.” Jane suggests making the time to write by starting with small, manageable increments. Start with 10, 15, or 20 minutes of writing per day and gradually move to 45 minutes. In the long-run, these small chunks of focused writing are more beneficial than trying to catch that mythical “4 hours” of solid writing time.

To hear more from Jane on how to take control of your writing process, feel free to rent the webinar below! If you’d like more professional advice, browse through our other webinars at Beyond Prof.

Beyond the Professoriate Community Members attend events like this for free each month and access replays free for two weeks. Ready to launch your next great career? Join the Online Career Hub for PhDs.

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