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Academic Coaching & Writing

XXIII. An Academic, Writing: Rebooting and Restarting

May 28, 2013 by Lee Skallerup Bessette

In my last post, I addressed how and why I fell out of my writing routine. I also addressed how I managed not to let my setbacks completely derail my progress. Rather than see myself as a failure, I focused on the opportunity to rest and recharge. In this post, I’m going to be looking at ways to get started again.

Rebooting is important, particularly now that the semester is over and the routine necessarily is changing, whether you have fallen out of the writing routine or not. Summer is upon us, and it’s time to reprioritize, to recommit, and to establish new or re-establish old routines. The last thing we want to do is deprive ourselves of enjoying a least a little bit of the time “off” afforded to us as academics. The first step I am taking is to look at my long-term summer schedule (conferences, Call for papers deadlines, class planning, vacations, etc) and come up with a reasonable plan to accommodate everything.

If last semester I came to the epiphany that I needed to incorporate swimming into my daily schedule, my “break” has also shown me that I also need to incorporate time to read for pleasure. I didn’t realize how much I missed reading until I went back to it. I’m sure I’m not the only academic who doesn’t read as much as they’d like to, but now I’m going to make sure that I schedule some “sacred reading time” for myself.

I could spend my whole day working on this book, but I know I won’t. Rather than set myself up for failure and disappointment, I’m once again going to take what I know works for me and incorporate it into my daily schedule. I can’t write intensively for longer than two hours at a time, and I am most productive (writing-wise) first thing in the morning. That isn’t to say I won’t be working on the book in some way at other times during the day (brainstorming, free-writing, revising, etc) but that the bulk of the writing will happen first thing in the morning for two hours.

Finally, I still need a more formal system of accountability, which is why I’ll be once again working with a coach and participating in the Virtual Writing Room over the summer. I miss Nisi and her meditation and visualization exercises, as well as the weekly meetings with my coach to discuss my progress. I didn’t realize how much I relied on them until they were gone. I tried to make sure that I set myself up for success once the last Writing Room ended, but it didn’t work. So, I’m going with what I know works for another 12 weeks.

But between now and the June 10th start-day for the Writing Room, I’m going to concentrate on setting up a routine and trying it out. That way I will have worked out the bumps and be ready to go when the time comes. My next post will focus on making a realistic and effective daily and summer schedule for me and my goals.

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