Sunday, December 16, 2018

Friday, December 14, 2018

There Is No Catching Up

You will never "catch up." You will never make up for all the times where things were not going as well as you think they should. The impulsive to catch up will only create stress, anxiety, and self-downing and deprivation. Trying to catch up will only get in the way of the actual process of engaging in your work. Best to just set your writing calendar, focus on one or two writing pieces at a time (set before the week begins), and stay in the process of writing.

We cannot write faster than our current processes and tools allow.

We cannot write faster than our current processes and tools allow.

We cannot write faster than our current processes and tools allow.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

I Am Not A Writing Coach

Well, maybe not just a writing coach is more accurate. Not that there is anything being a writing coach- for years that was how I saw myself (and, frankly, often still do). Yet, besides writing, I help scholars and leaders with many other problems and issues. What you ask?  Here is a list of a few of the issues.

Thriving as an academic
Thriving as a leader
Self-downing and mild (non-clinical depression)
Compulsive or ineffective technology use
Emotional self-regulation
Writing productivity (yup, writing stuff :)).
Personal and professional relationship building
Qualitative methods
Personal growth and development
Work productivity
Intentional work/life decision making
Job hunting
Developmental editing
Grant application reviews
Making tough decisions
Organizational decision making
Improving supervisory skills
Tenure and promotion planning
How to say no without harming your career
Teaching hacks that work
Becoming a great teacher without killer yourself
Article writing mastery (writing again!!)
"I got tenure-why am I depressed!"
"I got tenure- now what?"
Letting go of assistant professor fear
Planning future promotions
Breaking out of career ruts
Planing and implementing the march to full professor
Recovering passion mid-career
Book proposal development
Book writing
Rituals that work
Integrating teaching, research and service to a happy life
Job hunting for scholars
Becoming who you are as a scholar/leader
Thriving for the long haul
Transitioning to post-academic life

See, not just a writing coach!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Passports: A Creative Nonfiction Essay

Another Chicago Magazine has long been one of my favorite literary journals. I am thrilled and honor to have my essay Passports, appear in their last issue.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Winter Break Coaching Packets (Three only)

I will have some free time over the winter break (Yay!!!), and so will offer time-bounded coaching packages for those who are interested (and, before my rates go up on January 1).

Four sessions for five-hundred dollars, to be used between December 12 and January 25th.

Email me if you are interested.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Well, You Know: On Practices That Do Not Serve Us

It might sound like this......Do things your way, don't listen to others. Don't listen to what others say about the writing process, do it your way!

I have read "encouragement" and "validation" like this a few times lately on Twitter. Ironically, each writer seems to have been struggling with their own writing practices and productivity, although are very, very confident in their methods. A certain line from Shakespeare--something about protesting to much-- comes to mind.

Some of these methods are tried and true "academic lore"-- practices and principles I have seen hinder scholars over the years--that they keep practicing and performing, over and over, in spite of not getting the results they wish for. Or, they have their own methods that they insist will work for them, if only they had more time. Time, alas, that mythical unicorn.

Of course, we need to all find methods that work for us. We are all, individuals, we are all, different--just ask this fellow!

However, in my roles as therapist and coach, I have frequently listened to scholars express their preference for practices that do not serve them. Perhaps their methods once did help them, perhaps not so much.  The practices don't work, but they defend tooth and nail.

Change is hard. Letting go of old ways of being is hard.  Having to deconstruct your way of working is threatening.

When reading social media, I try hard to smack my fingers when I am tempted to give advice regarding the practices of others--unless I am clearly invited. Unsolicited advice and opinions are often unwelcome.

But here, I often critique practices I find troubling, of course, without directly challenging anyone. And if you are a coaching client, well, you know--we will explore your practices. If they truly work for you, we will improve them, refine them, maximize them, connect them to the writing you deeply wish to do.

But if they are not working--well, you know :).

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Yes, I Know, Writing is Hard, But...

Some of you may have read a series of posts I wrote, all with the title "Writing is Not Hard." I hope you read enough of them and not just the titles! If you did not, you might be wondering why I am discounting your writing difficulties. I could even see how such a message, taken out of context, could be seen as being dismissive of the challenges that writing presents.

Writing does, of course, present many technical challenge. I am 3/4 of the way through an MFA in creative nonfiction (yes, I have a PhD already and no, I did not give my my tenure!!)-a bucket list dream, my MFA. I have spent countless hours working on my essays. There are times when I have spent an hour or more on a sentence- that is  challenging, for sure.

But academic writing is not creative writing- no matter what anyone tells you, spending an hour word-smithing a sentence in an academic article or dissertation is not a wise use of time.

Not only that, but even challenging writing does not have to be painful. The point of my series of posts was simply this: most of what makes writing feel hard are the problematic beliefs and discourses that we have internalized. The subjective experience of writing is extremely hard when you have both technical challenges that you have not overcome and cognitions that make you feel anxious or down.

So, how do you make writing feel easier? Improve your technical writing skills, your methods of productivity, and work on your "stuff."

Now that is hard work, but oh, the possibilities!! 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

A Check In

Sorry I have not been blogging. All is good with me. This has been a busy quarter.  I am happy and well, and my knees continue to feel stronger and better!

What am I up to?

A teaching schedule that basically takes up two full days ( I hate starting at 11am!).

Normal fall committee ramp us.

The finishing touches on an edited book (Healthcare Social Work: A Global Perspective, Oxford U Press)

Tons of wonderful clients (get on the waiting list, if you dare!!). Far more pro bono coaching that I have done before- nothing like a xenophobic despot to create more work for all of us.

Just now completing the first draft of my thesis for  my MFA in Creative Nonfiction (five months early, I know, I know, I am freak). Oh, how close I am to crossing off this bucket list item!

(random side note: will I really ever use, Rich Furman, MFA, MSW, PhD?? I can tell you one thing, I will use MFA often!!!)

December begins the start of a far more "normal" period, and will be freed up a good deal. Expect blogging to pick up :)

Friday, September 28, 2018

Why Writing Is Not Hard #12

Yes, if you beat yourself up enough! Certainly, if your belief is that the writing process is anxiety producing, horribly painful, shameful, and otherwise dreadful, than of course writing is hard.

It feels painful, and in the moment of experiencing your emotions, they are all consuming.

I am not unemphatic--I just know that how you currently feel can change, as I have witnessed many dozens of times.

And THAT change does take hard work.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Writing Is Not Hard #11

I have really repeated myself a great deal over the past couple of weeks, have I not? So, what is the essence of what I have been trying to communicate?

Writing is not inherently hard; it just is.

What makes writing hard are the cognitive appraisals, beliefs, evaluations and schema you hold about writing, your work, and yourself.

Change those, and writing transforms.

More importantly, change these, and you, and your relationship to writing, transforms.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Why Writing Is Not Hard #10

I sit in my chair—it is overstuffed, off-orange leather--which I have had for 17 years. It is wearing out, but the amount of sentimental value it holds transcends the cracks and stains. I often have a small dog in my lap—a really cute one at that. I get paid, usually indirectly, to think, to play with ideas, to play with words. I do it every day. Things get finished. Some things don’t. I breath. I clear my mind—I have learned to stay I the process and not worry about outcomes.

I have learned to stay I the process and not worry about outcomes.

I have learned to stay I the process and not worry about outcomes.

I have learned to stay I the process and not worry about outcomes.

120 articles and 15 books but not worrying about outcomes.