Welcome to 2015! It’s going to be a good year.
I am making a New Year’s Resolution: writing every workday. Let me be even more specific: In 2015, I resolve to spend at least 30 minutes each workday on writing scholarly papers.
Most people I know that are willing to admit their scholarly writing habits are “binge writers.” That is, they don’t write every day but rather block out a chunk of time every now and then, perhaps even weekly, for paper writing. In recent years, I fit into this category as well.
I am not an expert in the subject of the most effective method of academic writing but every expert that I have heard on this topic says that binge writing is not particularly effective. While people think that it is more effective to “get in the zone” and spend a whole day writing, research shows that binge writers end up writing significantly fewer pages over the course of a year.
It is much better to write a little bit every day, preferably at the same time and place, to establish a long-lasting habit. The rhythm of daily writing will make it so that getting in the zone is very quick, therefore allowing meaningful progress even with only a few minutes of writing.
Here is a website where you can learn more about the trade-off between binge writing and daily writing:
So, I am making a resolution to spend at least 30 minutes a day on paper writing. Not proposal writing, email writing, other people’s papers, or blog posts, but first-author papers. Some of the time could be spent outlining a paper; I am one that always starts with a full outline and convert each bullet point into a sentence or paragraph. This time might include reading journal articles relevant to an Introduction section, as long as I take notes in the paper outline and use the time to help fill in at least a few words towards a manuscript. I am not going to count initial plot-making time but it might include a small modification of a plot now and then just to touch it up for a paper. Mostly, though, it will entail writing. I have four partially written manuscripts that I would like to get submitted this year. I hope that I can make it within the first six months of 2015 but that’s not in my resolution. For my resolution, it’s just the writing part.
Please feel free to join me in making a pledge to focus on writing papers in 2015.