Friday, July 20, 2018

Challenge: Design or Improve Your Writing Ritual

The other day, I wrote a simple post on writing rituals. If you do not have a writer’s ritual, your challenge today is to develop one. If you have one, your challenge is to consider how well it is working for you. Here are a few questions to guide you.

1) Does my ritual increase the likelihood that I will write?
2) Does my ritual help me make writing a distinct part of my life?
3) Does my writing ritual address potentially problematic uses of technology?
4) Does my ritual take too much time?
5) Am I so dependent on my ritual that I can’t write unless I engage in it?

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Ideas That Harm Scholars

My next few posts are going to be about the ideas that harm scholars. Each are often accepted, and uncritically evaluated. I am going to explore each, opening them up to critiques based upon logic, utility, and/or research. I am sure I will add to this list, but I will start with the following problematic ideas:

Writing is inherently hard
Publishing is too difficult
Higher education/"The University" is an oppressive institution
You can't be productive and happy
Working in higher education places one at risk of mental illness
You are a bad writer or a good writer
"Industry jobs" are inherently better than academic jobs
Academics must work too many hours in order to be successful

It is easy to find advocates for each of these positions in social media. Each of them are flawed.

I have addressed many of these before, and frankly, I know that I have "gotten on my soapbox" about a few of them on more than one occasion.

I am passionate about helping scholars having thriving careers--living the live that they wish to live. When I read thing that stand in their (our) way, ideas that are based upon myth, ideas not supported by theory, research or practice, I call them out.

I am calling the one's above out.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Challenge: One Random Act of Kindness Toward a Scholar

Do I really need to write much? Probably not.

Select a doctoral student, faculty, or faculty hopeful and "commit" one random, unexpected act of kindness toward them.

Just because.

Make it unexpected. Collectively, this wacky world can be a wee bit kinder today.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A Quick Reminder about Writing Rituals

Writing Rituals Revisited

I have written about writing rituals frequently. However, perhaps a simple post for those who have not read one, or who need a reminder.

A writing ritual is a simple set of behaviors that you repeat ever time you intend to write. It signals that we are moving from one space into the next, and our writing space is something, if not sacred, is at last essential.

A writing ritual should not take up too much time- a few minutes at the most. I can include mindfulness, reciting or reading of cognitive reminders to help us challenge self-defeating thinking, or other behaviors that include the likelihood that we will write.


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Where Would Writing Take Me?

Twenty years ago, I was about to start my first full-time faculty position. I was half way through my PhD coursework and was lucky enough to get a full-time, annually renewable lecturer position at Community College of Philadelphia (I have great memories of that place!!). While I was grateful for the position, I was a bit worried about getting stuck on a "teaching track." There is nothing wrong with teaching intensive positions-teaching is the greatest of privileges and honors—we forget that sometimes. However, I knew that I wanted to be a researcher and a teacher, and believed that a position in a "Research I" would be a better match for me.

And frankly, like many of us, I was not certain if this would be my first and last faculty position or not. I too had internalized the voices of the naysayers who suggested that there were too few tenure-track faculty positions to hope for one, and writing and publishing are just too damn hard! 

I remember I drove to the Jersey shore to see the ocean. After walking around the beach for a while, I sat in the sand and wrote in my journal. As I wrote and began to think about my upcoming faculty position, and my desire to write and publish, I posed a question/challenge to myself: What would happen if I wrote every day, no matter what--where would writing take me?

Twenty years. A lot happens in twenty years. I won’t even go into an accounting of it all—those who know me and who have read my blog know that my life has not always been smooth or easy. Whose really is?

But for twenty years, through it all, I have written. Have I really written every day?  To the best of my recollection, yes, I have. I might not have always worked on an academic article or book, but I have written. Heck, it was the first thing I did once I settled into my hospital bed after both of my total knee replacements! Let me tell you, opioids and quality writing do not really mix if your name isn’t William S. Burroughs!

But that doesn’t matter—I wrote. My challenge to myself was to write, not to write brilliantly. Paradoxically, letting go of the need to be awesome, and learning how to  stay in process, has not only led to solid productivity, but to some pretty cool writing, IMHO.

And where has writing taken me? No need to provide a synopsis of my bio- my CV is easy enough to find if you are interested. But where it has taken me, most essentially, is right here, into this moment, my fingers dancing upon these keys, open to possibility, hoping for another twenty more.