Inside Higher Ed has this great article by Kerry Ann Rockquemore about being productive during the summer. Boy oh boy, talk about the right article at the right time. I really needed this today, as I head back to the grind…Here’s a snippet, after she gets in touch with acquaintance Claire, a scholar who is worried about writing:
Unfortunately, she had done very little writing: only three short sessions in the 30 days since we last spoke. When I asked Claire what was holding her back, she had difficulty identifying anything specific. She readily acknowledged having more free time and fewer responsibilities than she did during the academic year. But despite knowing that this was an important summer for her to be productive and having a general sense that she should try to write every day, somehow her days kept flying by without any progress on her manuscripts.
I think there are lots of Claires out there. For me, she typifies both the most common and the most basic type of resistance: when you have a vague sense that you SHOULD be writing and you NEED to write (in order to finish your dissertation, get a job, win tenure and promotion, etc.) but you’re not putting conscious, direct, and intense energy into the actual act of writing. As a result, lots of other work gets completed and other people’s needs get met, but at the end of the day your manuscript is left untouched. This type of resistance is grounded in relatively simple technical errors that writers frequently make in the early stages of their careers. The good news is that this type of resistance is the easiest to resolve because a few simple tips and tricks will get your fingers to your keyboard (or pen to page).
Happy reading and writing to all of you who hope to be productive this summer!