Keep your writing on schedule

Research as a second language has a nice review of the concisely titled How to write a lot.

The money quotes:

Its basic argument is that if you write on a schedule, rather than according to whim, you will be more productive and happier as an academic writer.


Writing projects (even whole writing careers) too often go off the rails when writers abandon their schedule and start waiting for inspiration. Or they never get started because they never consider the question of exactly when they will put all their great ideas into writing.

and, the de-mystifying

Silvia takes great pains to make academic writing seem like an ordinary, non-existential activity. “Academic writers,” for example, “cannot get writer’s block”.

This is wonderfully true. Granted, there are days when you are “on fire” and days when the mind is sludge, the hands cramp, and the heebie jeebies multiply.  On the former days you compose the Introduction and Discussion–easily the most literary parts of a scientific paper. On the latter days, work on your Materials and Methods, draft a figure, even type in your references.

Just write…every….day.  The currency of academia is still publications. And you want to leave grad school with pocket full of cash…


3 Responses to Keep your writing on schedule

  1. Bradeley says:

    Just write… I couldn’t agree more! However it could be hard to do without a organising system. You do need somebody or something to remind you what you should do next. My helper is What’s yours?

  2. Katrine says:

    Love the mention of Research as a Second Language. Great blog, useful post, all good things come together.

    I find that deadlines, particularly the big ones, tend to render schedules kind of superfluous. The big deadline-schedule starts in the morning and stops in the afternoon, only to pick up again in the evening. I know, I know, with better time management, I might avoid that situation. But sometimes, it is almost enjoyable. For me, when I schedule, the purpose is to write frequently and simply produce material, in much the same way as big scary deadlines often serve as the much needed kick in the …

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