Another excerpt from The Scholarly Writing Process (Short Guide #1). This is the conclusion.
I have argued that scholarly writing is more than merely the production of specific publications. The term “writing” refers to both the process of translating ideas in our heads into words on a page and to the products of that process. Writing is a cognitive process in which you develop and articulate your ideas. Any particular publication is part of a larger body of scholarly work.
Curiosity, arguably the foundation of all academic work, can also be directed at the process itself, allowing you to work with the powerful emotions that surface as you write, to take your writing in different directions, and to focus your writing on specific products for specific audiences.
It is not helpful to think of writing as something you do only when you have a particular product in mind. Not everything you write will be something you want to share with others. It is not a waste of time to write things that will never become conference papers, or articles. It is not a waste of time to write unsuccessful grant proposals; or book proposals that you decide not to submit to a publisher. If what you write helps move your thinking forward, it is worthwhile. Moving your thinking forward often looks like going off on a tangent, or even failing.
It is much more helpful to think of writing as a practice, analogous to a yoga practice or a spiritual practice. Your writing practice will adapt to your particular context and evolve over time. I have written another Short Guide that helps you establish a writing practice that works for you, and reflect on and adjust that practice periodically.
Excerpt from The Scholarly Writing Process (Short Guide 1) The introduction: Writing as process and product