Today's guest blog post comes to you from one of my favorite people in academia: friend, colleague and frequent co-author Dr. Alissa Ackerman. Alissa is an assistant professor of criminal justice at the University of Washington, Tacoma. Alissa has been amazingly productive during her early career, so pay close attention to what she has to say.
Just keep writing. This is my motto.
With two young children life can often be harried. Balancing the demands of life at home with my work life sometimes feels like a challenge. This is especially so given the life of an academic whose work does not end at the end of the school day. In the "publish or perish" world one must write to survive, but often the anxiety associated with having to write makes it difficult to do so. That is why I say "just keep writing." I always have several manuscripts in progress and a document full of ideas for the future.
Whenever an idea for an article comes to mind I write it down. Wherever my energy takes me in a given hour or day is where I put my energy. I just keep writing.
To do this, I work in GoogleDocs and I always have my iPad or iPhone with me, but paper and pencil work just fine. Whenever something comes to mind I jump into GoogleDocs and I write it down. Some days a small idea turns into several pages of material for a manuscript, but other days I only get the chance to write a sentence. It may only be a single sentence, but it means I am saying productive. I aim to wrie a page a day, but given the realities of my life, I cut myself a little slack.
Cut yourself some slack, too. If you are reading this it means you care deeply about your writing. So just keep writing. Stop worrying about the singe article you have to get out to a journal this semester and just start writing. Keep several pieces or ideas going at once and just keep writing. Brainstorm with colleagues and collaborate on papers and just keep writing. This strategy has made and kept me successful in the publish or perish world of academics. The more you write, the more you learn!