One of the reasons I was excited to join #acwrimo is because I’ve attempted a number of times (and failed each time around) to develop daily writing habits. Research and writing get squeezed out of my life–wait, I need to own this–. I squeeze research and writing out of my life for a number of reasons, some reasonable, some not. I’m absolutely protective of time with my son and of making sure I keep active and healthy (sleep, exercise, decent food). As faculty at a teaching-centered institution, it’s easy to let teaching consume my time: there are immediate needs and immediate rewards. And, now tenured, there are often larger responsibilities to my department and the college.
But if I’ve learned something in the scant ten days that I’ve been participating in #acwrimo, it is that 30 minutes a day –of writing or brainstorming or revision or checking out the recent scholarship–has affective and effective outcomes. On the effective side, I’ve discovered that, contrary to my once-cherished myth that I needed large blocks of time in order to write, 30 minutes a day is indeed enough to get some decent writing/thinking in. And 30 minutes a day for six or seven days a week adds up. On the affective side, it has really amazed me how much more excited I am about my work (and how much easier it is to enter into it and remember the moves that I want to make) then when I “save” it all for winter or summer break.
But 30 days is, apparently, not enough to form a habit. 66 days is. The good news for me is that I knew that November would be the difficult month to make time for writing. December will be easier, so much easier! This is my official promise to myself then: #acwrimo doesn’t end for me on Nov. 30. I aim to make 30 minutes of academic writing/research such a habit that, by the time the next academic term starts, it’s as automatic to my routine as brushing my teeth, making the morning coffee, or doing my long run on Saturdays.
Long story short: here is my love note to #acwrimo and PhD2Published and all the awesome folks participating in it this year. #acwrimo has provided me with just the right kind of social network that pushes me to do my 30 minutes, even though it’s not a habit yet.