So despite my previous post, I’ve yet to overcome the wall of writer’s block. However, some fellow grad students shared two blogs (Ryan Cordell’s “Writing 20 Minutes Every. Single. Day.” and “10 Ways to Write Every Day” )discussing techniques for writing for short periods of time every (week)day. I’m hoping implementing these concepts will push me past the wall and get me going again. I’d like to stop feeling guilty and stressed by the static situation of my dissertation chapter, especially considering that this winter is depressing and stressful enough all on it own.
Some of the tips suggested include scheduling at least 15 minutes of non-negotiable writing time, stopping while you still have more to say (and taking notes/outlining how you plan to continue), not stopping to look up quotations during that set time (instead using placeholders like INSERT QUOTATION HERE, which I already tend to do anyway, so SCORE! 1 technique mastered!), broadening our conception of “writing” to include more writing work than just typing words into a blank document, and finding the time of day that works best for getting into the writing mode.
I am and have always been a “binge writer,” distinct from procrastinator in that while I tend to set aside entire days for writing in one chunk, those days are not necessarily immediately before said written text is due. But aspoints out in her blog, this is not the most productive way to write. She explains,
Why you need to write every day
I decided I needed to try to write every day when I found out that scholars who write daily and hold themselves accountable write nearly ten times as much as others! In Robert Boice’s article, he explains the virtues of writing every day. Boice describes a study where he divided new faculty into three groups and recorded their writing productivity:
- The first group did not change their writing habits, and continued to write occasionally in big blocks of time; in one year they wrote an average of 17 pages
- The second group wrote daily and kept a record of their writing; they averaged 64 pages
- The third group wrote daily, kept a daily record, and held themselves accountable to someone weekly; this group’s average was 157 pages (Boice 1989:609).
Once I read those findings, I was convinced I should at least try daily writing.
I have to agree with Tanya, those are very convincing findings. Convincing enough that I’m going to give this a shot, at least for a month, to see how it works for me. I’m sure I’ll be frustrated at first, but at this point I’ll be happy with writing nonsense if it will eventually get me going again on my dissertation. I’m also considering using 750words.com, as explained by Billie Hara here.