Day 28: Write what you're avoiding
From Jo VanEvery, Academic Career Guide and Founder of the Academic Writing Studio
Image by Christine Martell, Visuals Speak (used under license)
Is there something you are avoiding writing? Maybe it seems a bit “out there” or “weird”?
You may not use the word “weird”. You might say something like…
“No one really cares about this topic.”
“No one is going to read this journal article.”
“I’d love to write about X, but no one will give me a job/tenure/funding if I do that.”
When you tell yourself that your research is weird, you don’t give it the time, energy, and respect it deserves.
If you decide you have to write “safer” things, you’ll struggle to stay interested and you won't produce your best work.
Being an academic means being enthusiastic about some narrowly defined topic.
The research and writing you want to do is interesting and important. It may feel risky to publish it. However, it’s hard to assess the risks properly if you don’t even let yourself write a draft.
Use today’s #AcWriMoment to explore what feels risky in your work.
Try freewriting, mind-mapping, or other creative approaches.
When the voices in your head start, turn their comments into challenges!
“You think that’s weird? Well, I haven’t even touched on …”
“You think they’d take my Real [Insert discipline here] Scholar™ card away for that? Well, there’s more..”
Your goal is to explore what you really want to say.
Working on something that you may never publish may feel like you are squandering precious writing time.
I encourage you to do it anyway. Experiment. Just for this session. Allow yourself to write something you are intrinsically motivated to write, even if you’ll never share it with anyone.
You can assess the risks and potential benefits of sharing it later. Then decide whether to revise it into a form you can share.
Enjoy your writing!
Would it feel safer to take this kind of risk if you knew you were writing regularly? Join the Academic Writing Studio for coworking, group coaching, and more.
Jo Van Every