June 23rd, 2015
The grueling grading period is over. The semester is finally finished. You’ve probably taken a few well-deserved weeks off, but now it’s time to start working on your own research and writing projects. Many of us use our precious summer “vacation” to churn out articles and book chapters. But as the tenure-track market tightens and pressure to publish increases, many people – especially junior faculty – feel intense anxiety over their summer writing schedules.
“I’m going to write my book.”
“I have to write and submit three articles this summer.”
“I need to write every, single day. At least 1,000 words a day.”
Do any of those pledges sound familiar? If so, I have some bad news: You may be setting yourself up for failure. Even worse, crafting an unrealistic summer writing goal might actually be harming your ability to write at all, creating a vicious vortex of procrastination, anxiety, and guilt.
The solution is to set realistic goals and maintain a regular writing schedule. Instead of being rigidly attached to an overambitious writing schedule, it’s better in the summer to think of your writing time as somewhat more flexible than it might be during the academic year. It’s summer, after all, and you do need to recharge your batteries. There is a way to relax and be productive, trust me.