A few days ago, an anonymous poster made a post that I promised I would respond to. If the post was not made anonymously, I would most certainly ask for permission before I responded more publicly and re-posted it here. However, since it was anonymous, and I think I can take the opportunity to address an important issue, I will take the liberty to do so. Here is the post:
"I am just too stuck in my ways at the moment to attempt even a small change. The idea of forcing myself to write 500+ words a day is just not me. I am not that disciplined. The other problem is that while I understand what you are saying with regards to looking up references etc later and just write, I can't do that, I absolutely hate if I have something down on paper and I know the reference may be somewhere in a big pile of papers in another room, I just have to get it and make sure I have it and re-read it again etc. Seems like some form of OCD."
Read this passage carefully. What you will find are several statements where the author assures us that "this is the way I am," and both implicitly and explicitly says, "and I will never change." The author conflates behaviors with essential, fundamental aspects of the self. While the author recognizes that he or she is stuck, he or she also states that the idea of forcing him/herself to do something is "just not me." These behaviors are so fundamentally part of his or her self that her/she could never change, and if he/she did, than somehow it would be a very assault to the self, or a very assault on the individuals essence.
These absolutist or essentialist views are a big part of what is keeping the author stuck! As long as she or he holds tightly to this notion that this is the way she or he is, she will not do things differently. And the truth is, these are merely behaviors and habits, which can be changed. People often change behaviors that they have engaged in for decades. Of course, it take a great deal of hard work, and in the case above, the author would have to challenge forcefully and continually challenge these essentialist beliefs about who they are. I found a one minute audio on this from Dr. Mitchell Perry. It might feel a bit harsh, but it puts it out there!
This is an example of what I call a psychosocial barrier to writing. In my coaching practice, I have discovered that there are at least five key domains that I help people with. Writing productivity, journal article writing methods and skills, the rules and norms of the academe, the ins and outs of peer review, and psychosocial barriers. Too often, the psychosocial barriers are what hold people back from performing in the other domains. They KNOW what they need to do, but hold tightly to beliefs and behaviors that get in their way.
Change is hard, and change is often painful. Yet, if you wish to have different results and outcomes, sometimes you have to change your tools. In the case of the scholar/writing, the tool is the self.
For what it is worth, and I hope I did not offend the original poster.