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summer writing

Megan Betz


My family is still sleeping, & I've woken up for the nth day in a row to get some work done on summer writing projects before we all start our day together. In continuing the theme from my last post, I've been dedicating myself to this time as a way to add a sense of accomplishment right into the start of my day--increasing the odds that I'll successfully manage stress & enjoy my day. 

The time isn't always incredible productive. I skim social media longer than I'd like. Some steps in the paper-writing process take longer than anticipated, but I always have a plan. And I've finally found a system to stay motivated that works for me. Here's what's been helping, in case you're looking for some new tools:

  • Ive joined in a summer writing group offered through our university's writing services. It's a 12-week program that follows Belcher's Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks. We meet each Tuesday morning, & the whole vibe--solidarity, accountability, coffee & treats, idea sharing--has made writing more enjoyable and productive. I hope to join a dissertation writing group to continue through the fall. (Though, now that I'm thinking about it, it may be best to wait until I am focusing more on dissertation writing than writing + data collection.)
  • As part of Belcher's book/workbook, I'm logging the time I work each day. If I get writing done that day, I put a sticker on it. (This is my own addition to the work logs, & seeing quickly how many days I managed to show up & do the work that really matters is really motivational.) I total the writing/working time for the week, & I've been pleasantly surprised each time. The goal is five hours a week + at least 15 minutes a day of writing. It took a while to get there, especially since I was procrastinating by saying, "I can't write for only 15 minutes! I need at least an hour. I can't write today; I don't have enough time!" Now, I have a list of things that need done, & I pick what I can reasonably start on based on the amount of time I seem to have. 
  • I use My Tomatoes to get work done if I'm feeling extra distracted. I took a personal day two weeks ago, & My Tomatoes kept my day structured, including four hours of writing. That's unprecedented for me. 
  • I've created a detailed timeline for the remaining part of the year, so I know when I'm focusing on which projects. This week, I'm hoping to focus my brain solely on the project I'm using for my summer writing program, to catch back up on work there. I'm trying not to be stressed, & really just trying not to even open that timeline right now, as I know it'll just send me down a rabbit hole of tweaking & rethinking.

Wishing you all a productive summer!