May Writing Roundup
This Month in Review
Happy summer to all of those who are already celebrating, and hang in there for those of you who are still in the middle of terms! Personally, I've taken a couple weeks to flow work but will soon return to a more structured workweek. I hope that you have a productive and/or restful summer —whatever you would most like it to be!
Here are some of my favorite media I’ve consumed over the past month on writing, productivity, and managing all-the-things. Some of this content is new, some of it is old, but all of it has kernels of wisdom for busy academic writers.
1. Here are the Publish Not Perish posts from the past month, in case you missed any:
2. I enjoyed this older post from Jane Jones, “How Long Does it Take to Write an Academic Book.” She mentions this gem in the post:
What I’ve discovered in over five years of working with clients is that a writing project takes the time you give it.
While this can be a hard answer for folks to stomach, I love its realness. How many of us finished the majority of our dissertation writing in the final two months before the deadline? How many of us submitted grant applications on the day they were due? That’s the thing about time. We never think we have enough of it, and if we are sufficiently motivated, we can fit a lot more into the time we have.
3. Speaking of writing dissertations! Kathryn Peterson, PhD at the The Dissertation Coach tackled the question, “Is it really necessary to write every day on your dissertation?” Most of you will be relieved to know that the answer is “nope.” Sure, folks who guard their writing time and write regularly are more successful, but the “every day” part is a mantra often circulated in academic circles. As Peterson writes,
We can only work with the time we have. So, decide when you’re going to work and then protect that time fiercely. You must set aside time on your weekends if that’s when it makes the most sense to work, and if you’re giving yourself every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday before noon, then you must get up in time to get the time in and not let anything else get in the way. The more scarce your writing time is, the more you have to protect it. Sometimes it’s important to experiment with your schedule and find out what works best with your current situation. I had a client with a demanding paid position during the work week, and she had negotiated to have Fridays completely off so that she could work on her dissertation Friday – Sunday. When Friday came around, she was too exhausted from fitting the rest of her work week into four days to make a big three-day push. I suggested that instead of negotiating for a full day off on Fridays, she takes two half days instead, and work 2-4 hours each of those days and a few more hours over the weekend. That ended up working so much better, because she wasn’t as tired when those half days rolled around, and she didn’t have to jam so much dissertation work into the weekend.
4. Briana Barner, who recently wrote the guest post The Postdoc Journey: A Space for Radical Reflection, recommended the podcast Cohort Sistas over on Twitter.
You can check out the podcast here. It’s in my queue!
5. Many people believe that becoming a faculty member is the only viable job option after graduation. This idea often comes from being immersed in the academic world, where the main focus is on research and teaching at the university level. But guess what? There's a whole wide world of career opportunities out there beyond academia's borders that need your PhD expertise.
I enjoyed the episode "Why the World Needs PhDs" from the PhD Life Raft Podcast. David Mendes, the guest, discusses the wide range of careers outside of academia that he has encountered on his own podcast, Papa PhD. He offers great perspectives for those considering jobs outside of the academy.
6. Facebook can sometimes bring out the dregs of humanity, but every now and then I come across a group that actually creates an uplifting community. About a year ago, I joined the Women in Academia Support Network (WIASN) Facebook group, and I’ve really enjoyed the conversations, advice sharing, and support that happens in that space.
It’s a lovely community—especially for folks who may feel isolated in their institutions. The group seems to be primarily faculty and PhD students at American and European institutions, but I have seen others from elsewhere as well. Check it out if you're on Facebook and identify as a woman in academia!