Do you want to be an academic who writes regularly?
In December, 2014, I decided that I wanted to be someone who practices yoga regularly.
I’ve done enough yoga to know that it is good for me to do it regularly. I have a teacher locally that I really like. But I had fallen out of the habit of going to a weekly class and I have never established a home practice.
I took my own advice about building a new habit.
- start with the equivalent of tossing one beanbag from one hand to the other before being able to master juggling.
- get the support you need: a group, coaching, etc.
I booked 3 private lessons with my yoga teacher. I learned some things I could do for 15 minutes every day. In addition to the very short daily practice, I’ve recommitted to a weekly class. I picked one that fits my schedule and is taught by the teacher I like. It’s a 90-minute class. Once a week.
I have no goals about physical changes to my body of any kind (strength, flexibility, looks, aerobic benefit …). None. My goal is to develop a consistent practice.
After only 2 weeks, I’m starting to be someone who does yoga every morning after her shower and attends one class a week. I’m starting to think about what I need to expand this. I’m taking it slowly. I’m focusing on the habit. (I’ve written about what that practice looks like in a separate post.)
You can do the same for writing
Start with 15 minutes every day. Don’t worry about what you write. Focus on writing for 15 minutes every day. Don’t tell me you can’t find 15 minutes. The biggest barrier to doing this is the gremlin who tells you that whatever you do in 15 minutes isn’t worth doing.
I’ve created a 15-min/day Academic Writing Challenge to get you started. Try it for 6 weeks and see what you learn about yourself, how a daily practice works for you, and how much you can get done in 15 minutes.
In 2018 I published a short book about Finding Time for your Scholarly Writing that includes a chapter on how this kind of practice can contribute to your writing practice.
This post was edited June 18, 2015. Link to the Short Guide added 6 January 2020.