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Facing Resistance to Daily Writing

Tomorrow's Research

Message Number: 
1835

NOTE: The Tomorrow's Professor eNewsletter will now be taking its annual December break. The next posting will appear on Monday, January 4, 2021.I want to take this opportunity to again thank Deborah Jessop, who works with Leddy Library at the University of Windsor and Elaine Hawley a retired college librarian (George Mason University) and graduate student mentor. Both have taken considerable time twice a week over several years to proofread each TP message before posting. While any mistakes that get through are mine, I can assure you that the quality of what you read is immeasurably improved through their efforts.

Stay safe everyone as we look forward to a better 2021.

Regards,

Rick

 

Today, I want to acknowledge that daily writing can be incredibly difficult, and resistance is to be expected.

Folks:

 

The posting below looks at some of the barriers to writing every day and how to address them. It is by Kerry Ann Rockquemore*, PhD, president and CEO of the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity [http://www.facultydiversity.org/] It is from the posting of August 26, 2019 in her Monday Motivator series of which you can find at: http://www.facultydiversity.org/

 

Regards,

 

Rick Reis

reis@stanford.edu

UP NEXT: TBD

 

Tomorrow’s Research

 

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Facing Resistance to Daily Writing

 

 

In last week's Monday Motivator, I encouraged you to consider blocking out at least 30 minutes every day for writing, and I suggested that you treat your writing time with the same respect you would a meeting or a class. As always, those two seemingly simple suggestions resulted in my inbox overflowing! The outpouring of responses only re-affirmed my belief that daily writing is difficult because what seems like a simple act -- sitting down to write for 30 minutes every day -- brings forth all of our "stuff" (whatever that "stuff" may be). This past week alone, daily writing brought out fears of success, fears of failure, debilitating perfectionism, inner-critics on steroids, rage over institutional inequalities, and painful ambivalence about whether (or not) some of us want to be academics.

 

Today, I want to acknowledge that daily writing can be incredibly difficult, and resistance is to be expected. Anytime we try to make a change in our behavior, we are guaranteed to face resistance, which most frequently manifests as procrastination, avoidance, and/or denial. This resistance is perfectly normal and practically universal, which means you are not alone in your fears, anxieties, and time constraints. If you struggled to write every day last week, that's okay! This is a new week and a new opportunity to enter into open and honest conversation with your resistance.

 

Some of us experience resistance as a loss of energy, which then leads us to give up on daily writing. We then feel guilty about breaking yet another promise to ourselves. So, let's take a totally different approach to our resistance this week by acknowledging it, being curious about it, figuring it out, naming it, and then sneaking around it. In the process, let's also be gentle with ourselves because guilt, shame, and self-criticism aren't useful nor will they help any of us write, publish, and/or be productive scholars.

 

This is a new week, so when you experience resistance, I suggest you try three things. First, acknowledge that you're feeling resistance and name it, even if it's only identifying the feeling ("I just don't wanna write today!") or the behavior ("I must check Facebook before I start writing!") that's keeping you from writing. That's a great start! Second, find the smallest amount of time you can stand for daily writing and show up. If you can write for five minutes every day this week, that's a success. If all you can do in that 5 minutes is physically pick up your manuscript and walk around your office snuggling it, that's progress! Third, in that small amount of time, reconnect with what you love about your project. You may hate 30 different things about it, but for now, try remembering what you love about it. Doing just a little something to remember what you love about your work will help you tiptoe around your resistance, the energy and connection will return, and you will be moving forward on the pathway to establishing a healthy and sustainable writing routine.

 

The Weekly Challenge 

 

This week, I challenge you to do the following: 

 

• If you haven't created a Strategic Plan yet, do so now! If you need    

  motivation, go ahead and listen to our Every 

  Semester Needs a Plan core curriculum webinar.

• Re-commit to your writing time this week.

• Block your writing time out of your calendar.

• If you don't have a calendar, buy a simple and cheap one ASAP!

• If you experience resistance, acknowledge and name it.

• If you're still struggling, reduce your time to the smallest amount you can 

  actually stand, set a timer, and get

  started.

• Remember what you LOVE about your work.

• If you don't love anything about your manuscript, gently and lovingly ask yourself: Why am I doing this?

 

I hope this week brings you the curiosity to engage in conversation with your resistance and a deep reconnection with what you love about your current writing project.

 

 

Warmly,

 

 

Kerry Ann Rockquemore, PhD

Founder, National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity