In the post about Summer Writing Plans I suggested that you don’t necessarily want to finish things in the summer, but rather get them to the point where what remains can be done during a busy term. One of my objectives in writing that post was to help you set yourself up for writing in term time, something I know a lot of people have difficulty with.
Of course the other objective is to make sure you get the most out of your summer writing while also getting the rest you need. Writing about how you may be tempted to binge write as the end of the summer break nears, I made an analogy between term-time writing and the kind of food you pack for a long hike. In my experience, leftovers make great snacks.
If you’ve not been successful at writing during term time in the past, it isn’t surprising that you feel a bit panicky right before the beginning of the academic year. Here are some ideas for setting yourself up well for the very different rhythms of teaching terms.
Go back to those projects you’ve been working on this summer. For each project:
- list tasks that remain
- break down multi-step items into separate tasks for each step
- put an estimate of how long each will take in parentheses
- use a symbol to indicate things that are interruptable (e.g. proofreading is something you don’t actually want to get immersed in so being interrupted and starting where you left off works great)
- sort your tasks into separate lists for interruptible tasks, and then different time periods (<15 mins, 15-30 mins)
Now you have a list of stuff that can be done in the more awkward bits of time during term.
Next step? Make plans for your semester that incorporate regular writing time. There is a Planning Your Semester class in the Academic Writing Studio.
Edited April 11, 2016. Related posts updated 1 August 2019.