From October 29th for a period of two weeks, I participated in a boot camp writing experience facilitated by the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. Each day of the 10 working days, we were expected to write for at least 30 minutes and post online indicating how much time we actually spent, how much we accomplished, and the challenges encountered.
Every book I have read about writing productivity indicates that the most writers write every day. I have struggled with disciplining myself to write daily, some weeks are better than others. This boot camp really helped me to realize the benefits of daily writing. Granted, some days I wrote just before midnight to make sure I had something to report. Accountability works!
Over that two week period, I managed to draft a manuscript article, writing a total of over 7000 words. I managed to take a break on one weekend (that was one of the requirements). I still need to learn to take a break at least one full day a week, I need to learn to keep a sabbath (not just a few hours on Sunday morning). I know my physical, emotional and spiritual health depends on learning to take a sabbath, to rest and rejuvenate.
This week I didn't do daily writing. I found myself getting off track, my attention was diverted by the so-called tyranny of the urgent. So now I find myself not having written anything in the past 4 days. Luckily, I have a writing retreat coming up this weekend, hosted by Temple University Writing Center where I can make up and hopefully also make progress. I had determined after the retreat this summer that I would find shorter retreats, boot camps and other writing help wherever I could, especially those close to home that are also affordable. Whatever I learn, I try to practice, and I share with faculty in my learning community, my doctoral students, and you all. I keep subjecting myself to these helps so that eventually, I will find what works best for my schedule, temperament and writing needs.
I challenge you to find what works for you that will enable increased productivity. Whether that is choosing one day a week as your writing & research day (many faculty do that), or finding just 30 minutes (or more) for daily writing (probably more achievable for doctoral students who are also working adults with families and other responsibilities), and/or even what we are attempting to do with my doctoral students - 'once-a-month' writing boot camps, find whatever works then stick with it.
All the best with your writing goals whether its for dissertation/thesis, journal articles, books, or leisure writing. If you have approaches to getting it done that have worked for you, kindly share.